2 Minutes with ...


Karen Pettigrew works in the centre of Tawa. In fact most local residents who have ever bought an item of stationery or a postage stamp in Tawa are likely to have ventured into the shop shop "Take Note Tawa" that she and husband Steve operate. Karen is one of our more 'prominent' retailers, having been in business locally for almost 20 years. Take Note Tawa employs a total of six staff which makes it one of the bigger retailers in the central shopping area.

The suggestion was made recently that these "2 Minutes with ..." profiles include some of the "friendly people" who work in the Main Road businesses. Karen Pettigrew was already on our list of possibilities, so the timing was just right! Read on to learn more about one of our "friendly retailers".

Where were you born, Karen?

Where did you grow up?
Newlands, which was a great place in the 50s & 60s, plenty of open spaces and farm land.

Where were you educated?
Went to Wellington Technical College (now Wellington Tech), followed by a three-year dressmaking apprenticeship.

What is your line of work?
Owner/operator of Take Note Tawa. In 1992 we purchased Tawa Books & Stationery located in Tawa Mall. In 1994 we purchased and added a New Zealand Post franchise. We moved to our present Main Road site in 2000 as Books & More. We are now part of the Paper Plus group as a Take Note store.

What about family?
Married to Steve with four adult daughters, three living in Wellington and one in Christchurch. We have three grandchildren. All of our daughters have worked with us over the years and our eldest, Rowena, is our Store Manager and team leader for Kiwibank instore.

What are your interests/hobbies?
Reading [interesting that - Ed.], the great outdoors including walking, kayaking, biking, gardening and time with our family.

How long have you lived in Tawa?
We lived in Tawa for two years when we were first married, then in Pukerua Bay for 21 years. Back to Tawa in 1993.

What do you think is great about Tawa?
It's got a very strong community spirit, and I think we're very fortunate in the amenities Tawa has. It's self-contained in a lot of ways and also central, close to Wellington.

What, if anything, would improve Tawa?
Looking forward to the extension of the Porirua walk/cycle way along the Tawa stream. Also maintaining a convenient local retail centre.

What is your favourite dessert?
Probably fresh fruit salad with a good quality ice cream, like Kapiti.

Favourite sports team or sportsperson?
Gotta be the Silver Ferns at the moment, especially after the Commonwealth Games epic!

Favourite style of music?
I enjoy easy listening country style and early rock 'n' roll music.

Favourite holiday destination in New Zealand?
We like to go to different places. In February we had two weeks in the South Island, travelling by camper van, went down to Stewart Island and Fiordland. "I'd love to go back there again." We did a four-day kayak trip in Doubtful Sound. "It was a neat experience." The Sounds are beautiful, the rain creates a certain beauty that is also very challenging.

Favourite quote or saying?
"Enjoy the day."

If you could meet any two or three people (alive or dead), who would they be?
I've just finished reading "Eat, Pray, Love". Elizabeth Gilbert, the author would be great to meet, and then Judy Dench and Martin Clunes are two of my favourite actors.

What three things would you take with you if you were stuck on a desert island?
Favourite books to pass the time, fishing line and family.

What is one talent you would like that you do not have?
I lack musical talent, so that would be quite nice to have.

What is one talent you have that you could not do without?
My love of quality books, especially children's books. I try to have a wonderful collection in store, and I'm always happy to order customers' special book requests.

What accomplishment/achievement in your life gives you much satisfaction/pride?
Our daughters. That would be number one.
Another achievement is, as a family we continue to operate a successful business in our community and we have a great team working with us.
A year or so ago we did the Tongariro Crossing and the Otago Rail Trail. Both as a family group, most enjoyable.

What is one interesting thing about you that local people might not know?
Following our fourth wedding in the family, my daughters added up the total number of bridal, bridesmaid and flowergirl dresses I had sewn. The total is 23.

What are two or three things you would like to do before you die?
To see great-grandchildren [that answer was prompted by husband Steve - Ed.]
We want to travel and investigate all the out-of-the-way places in New Zealand in our van.
Life is great - more of the same.

Compiled October 2010.

Other Tawa people