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How did Willow Bank start and where is it going? That is a question I get asked often.

2002 we bought 79, Wakefield-Kohatu Highway. It was a 4 acre property with a main house, a garage (now our main stoarge), a cottage (where Christine lives), the stables (Haberdashery/General Store), a green house (by our Laundry) and a chicken house (which is now the Play House).

Soon after purchasing the property Christine started an antique shop. She bought the antiques and collectables mainly in France and Switzerland and imported 18 container loads from Europe first to a shop in Hokitika she and her husband had and then to the place in Wakefield which is now Willow Bank. Soon the shop which was the garage got too small and we could buy the outdoor jail, previously used by Stoke police and the church from Collingwood street which was beside the Masonic Temple. Around 2005 is was more difficult to find small antiques and collectables because everyone started selling them on ebay and other internet trading places.  Christine closed down her shop and used the church to invite rest homes for afternoon tea. Rob McAllister, a friend of the family, built a storage shed behind the church to store tables and chairs. This building is now the Vienna Cafe. The little kitchen in the church was soon too small to keep china Christine used for serving tea and coffee and we could purchase a small building, which was formerly used by Brookside mill in Wakefield as a smoko room. The rest is history…

You probably wonder where is Willow Bank going to…. we wonder too.

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