Hamilton East to Hillcrest / Riverlea – Local Dairies

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Using Hillcrest West as a benchmark of examples of local dairies, the area has one dairy per 890 people, one per 300 dwellings and an average of 0.29 square km (29 hectares) per dairy, which gives an average radius of 300m (4 minutes) walking distance to a local dairy. The Greensboro area between the University and Hamilton East actually has a shorter average walking distance of 120m (2 minutes). 

The area south-east of Hillcrest West was developed in the late 1960s to 1970s under the Hamilton District Scheme. Local dairies were quite well spaced as development moved south-east, until we get to Cobham Drive and Morrinsville Rd; from there on there are no local dairies. The most southern dairy was on Cambridge Rd opposite Hillcrest primary school, but the location shown below is now a service station.

Cambridge road Hillcrest dairy location shown in the 1990s, after which it became a service station – image from Retrolens

Abel’s 4 Square opened as a supermarket in November 1961: “…it was one of New Zealand’s earliest supermarkets, and Hamilton’s first”*. “[The] Hillcrest store was only a few years behind Auckland’s first Foodtown, opened in Otahuhu in 1958”**.

*Tamahere forum

**Waikato Times story on Abel’s supermarket 7 Apr 2007

The new (early 1960s) Abel’s Four Square supermarket can be seen. From Hamilton Library heritage collection Hillcrest Motors and Abel’s supermarket HCL_14775

Looking east, west or south from Hillcrest New World, there are no local dairies, including near the Riverlea Rd area or near Berkley Middle School. There does not appear to even be a planned location for local dairies in these areas, as there was on the corner of Fitzroy Ave (link) or the corner of Alison St / Hibiscus Ave (link).

Local dairies are businesses; there are risks, and the life of a business can be short. Calculations using area, population and number of dwellings to determine the economic need for a local dairy are an interesting place to start, but still the local dairy may not be sustainable, as the shops on the corner of Aurora Terrace / Vesty Ave (link) show. In contrast, as we can see at the top of Cambridge Rd, two dairies sited across the road from each other can be economically sustainable.

Category: News

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