A global field guide to design, (life)style and secret finds
est. 2007
  1. Wee Birdy in New Zealand: Johnson’s Grocers at Re:Start

    Johnson’s Grocery is a Christchurch icon in its own right, with the family business first setting up shop on Colombo Street in the city centre in 1911. It’s remarkable that Johnson’s operated for one hundred years on that site until the February 2011 earthquake, enticing locals and homesick British ex-pats with Twiglets, Tunnock’s Teacakes and Yorkshire Tea. Sadly the original store was damaged in the earthquake and has since been demolished, but Johnson’s has set up a temporary shop in the shipping container village of Re:Start, packing the shelves with all sorts of imported British, American and European treats.

    The current owner, David Johnson, who thankfully made it out of his store to safety when the earthquake hit last February, has plans to rebuild on the original site when the street eventually re-opens. In the meantime, it’s nice to see a business with local historical significance making a temporary home in Re:Start, and the bulging shelves packed with colourful and vibrant old-school sweets adds a sense of nostalgia to the urban-industrial design of the village.

    I couldn’t resist making a beeline for the Tunnocks Teacakes (you have no idea how much I miss that soft marshmallow-y awesomeness), before stocking up on Parma Violets, Maynard Wine Gums, Fry’s Peppermint Cream bars and a box of Quality Street. (Not that I need an excuse, but I figured we needed snacks for our road trip to Mt Hutt.)

    Cashel Street
    City Mall, Christchurch
    Tel. 03 366 3027
    Opening hours:
    Monday to Friday 10am-5.30pm
    Saturday and Sunday 10am-5pm

    Wee Birdy travelled to Christchurch courtesy of the good folks at Tourism New Zealand and Air New Zealand. Head to www.newzealand.com for more information about visiting New Zealand.

    Click here to read my post about Re:Start in Christchurch, including my top six shops.
    Click here to read about The General Store at Re:Start in Christchurch.

    Click here to read about HAPA at Re:Start in Christchurch.

    • Hotly Spiced

      That earthquake was so devastating. I’m so glad he made it out alive. What a great looking shop. I love wine gums and quality street too – yes, I’m a Kiwi!