John and his wife visited Lawrence for a cycling weekend seven years ago, and within 4 months were living here. It’s a common theme in the district- those who come for a visit, fall in love and stay.
“There is a lot on offer for those who love the outdoors,” says John.
“There is the cycle trail, and beautiful walking tracks. A lot of people who stay here were just travelling through to Alexandra or Roxburgh or Queenstown and then come back and stay.
“For me, it’s the wonderful sense of community - and the quietness. I get stressed out now going to Dunedin with the traffic!”
Now John, aka ‘John of Lawrence’, owns the Boat Shed Antiques, located in the old Methodist church building in the charming Gold Rush town.
“I’m a hoarder from way back – I don’t really have a vision as such. Sporting memorabilia is my passion. Half of what you’ll find in the Boat Shed is my own that I’ve amassed over 40 years. I’m quite a collector, and so are a lot of my customers.”
Weaving in around the aisles of the crowded shop, avid treasure hunters are in for a treat; vintage sport clothing and equipment, books, art and collectibles are all waiting to be found.
“I’m always getting told off that I have too much stock. It’s not the easiest place to walk around, but it’s interesting – and I get a lot of good feedback!”
Why the ‘Boat Shed’? That’s a good question, says John.
“I had to call it something when we opened. I rowed for about eight years, so I called it the Boat Shed Antiques. A lot of people ask where the lake is!”
Come, meet John, and stay a while.