Sports World, Waipukurau

Hawke’s Bay Hiking and Tramping is based in the awesome town of Waipukurau (or Waipuk, as the locals call it), in the Central Hawke’s Bay district of New Zealand. In the years I’ve lived here, I’ve met so many wonderful people, and compared to the big cities, life in a rural town is just so much richer in terms of relationships. Businesses also have a different feel about them, and relationships with customers mean so much more.

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One of those businesses is Riddiford’s Sports World, on Waipuk’s Ruataniwha Street. No, I don’t have shares in the business, and I wasn’t paid for this article, and I won’t get any commission on extra sales resulting from it. So why would I want to do it? Several reasons, actually. The proprietor, Gael Riddiford, is the main reason – she owns the business, and it provides her living. As a result the service levels are just so much better than what you’d expect from a big store in the cities. In towns like Waipuk, relationships are everything, so shopping in her store is more than just a business transaction; it’s an opportunity for getting to know the customer, and being genuinely interested in what they’re about.

Secondly, the prices are very competitive in comparison to the large stores in the big smoke, and often they’re lower –  megastores aren’t always cheaper! Thirdly, Gael and her assistant, Roger, have a passion for their business, and it shows. Roger loves hunting, and is always up for a yarn about the bush.

Fourthly, if you need something and they don’t have it in stock – no problem, they will order it for you, and will let you know when it arrives. I can go on, but these are the main ones, and mostly the reason why I and my tramping friends buy our tramping stuff through them rather than go up to Hastings or Napier.

Another reason, and the last one I’ll mention, is that they have a surprisingly large range of tramping and hunting gear and supplies – pretty much everything you’ll need for your tramping trip, be it a day walk or a 4-day expedition into untracked bush. Maps, Back Country meals, gas, tents, packs, clothing, and heaps more. Want to ask them something? Phone 06-858 9412 or email sports.world@xtra.co.nz .

So, has this persuaded you? If yes, pop in for a visit for your tramping supplies on your next trip to Hawke’s Bay, or even better, why not stay a night or two in Waipuk, enjoy some of the great local hospitality, and check out some of the great tracks in Central Hawke’s Bay? Great cafes and accommodation, as well as a modern movie theatre.

And don’t forget that we’re more than happy to help out with information about tracks, times, distances, local weather, etc.

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