Local focus: new owner of a popular bookstore

Way of life

The Patrick bookstore changes hands. Made with funding from NZ On Air.

“Beware of looking for goals, looking for a lifestyle, decide how you want to live, and then see what you can do for a living WITHIN that lifestyle.”

This quote from Hunter S. Thompson are words to follow for the new owner of Patrick’s Bookshop in Whanganui. Daniel West has always had a passion for books, and now it’s become his job.

“I remember when I lived here 20 years ago,” he said. “On my lunch breaks I used to go to Guyton St, there was a second-hand bookstore there and that’s what I did on my lunch breaks.”

Returning to his hometown and dividing his time between the kids, a big lifestyle block and bookstore is a far cry from West’s previous two decades working on television. But with a decent internet and remote working now the norm, that means he can enjoy the best of both worlds.

“The job I left at the ABC came to require me to work remotely from here, for them there. I thought I got away from it all, and I thought ‘no, It’s okay “.

“Then I had a chance conversation with Patrick about buying this place, so it goes really well.

“I can set up in an office here and I work different hours there and so I have the best of both worlds so I can really live the dream.”

Patrick McKenna says he will miss the daily conversations in the store but will continue to pursue his passion for researching rare books. He says New Zealand is a surprisingly good hunting ground for collectibles.

“When these American publishers launched these books, they often sent them to the colonies to try them out,” McKenna said.

The library’s extensive collection of books has spanned more than five decades.

“I started in books in ’69 or ’70, ended up working for Oxford University Press in Wellington. I got hired as a books representative for schools because Oxford was the educational publisher. Half from the North Island three times a year, so I pretty much lived in my car.

“I had book shows in schools and showed them new publications and focused on selling the best publications in Oxford, which are very good things.”

The bookstore will remain on the same premises but there will be a name change to Book Hunters.

In addition to the book hunt, McKenna will be working in the moonlight as an auctioneer at Heritage Art. A framed and unpublished poem by James K. Baxter is one of many items offered at the first auction – September 11 at 2 p.m. at Heritage House in Whanganui.

Carried out with funding from


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