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Iconic paua shop closing

Rosie and Matt Carter in the retail section of their paua factory. PHOTO/FILE

Owners thank customers

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The retail side of Paua World in Carterton will close at the end of June.

Six workers, not all full time, have been made redundant as a result.

General manager Rosie Carter said a deciding factor was the loss of foot traffic.

She pointed to New Zealand border closures painting a bleak outlook for the family owned business.

“Keeping the shop open [is] unsustainable,” she said.

Mayor Greg Lang said, “it is a big loss for the community, but I know Paua World will reinvent themselves as they have done in the past”.

Lang said he had been in talks with Matt Carter and understood the closure was because of the borders being closed.

“I really appreciate the position that they’re in and I know Paua World has done everything they can,” Lang said.

There are about 30,000 international visitors to Paua World each year.

Rosie said over the years, “the business has weathered many bumps, but always managed to bounce back”.

“Covid-19 is by far the biggest setback that we have had to deal with.”

Regarding redundancies, Lang said through the recovery work being done for Carterton because of covid-19 there were opportunities to reskill people.

“The three mayors are working hard together with the four iwi identities to address this.”

Paua World plans to “refocus their business on a more domestic market and trading under its parent company, NZ Dimensionz”, Rosie said.

NZ Dimensionz is a leading manufacturer of products made from paua shell, mother of pearl, greenstone, bone, and other materials for over 40 years.

Products are sold all over the world.

Rosie said the business would continue to produce a range of goods centred around its core business.

In addition, the factory has a water jet, printers and lasers and can customise products for smaller production runs for promotional purposes.

Founded by Rob and Matt Carter in Masterton in 1979, Paua World moved to Carterton a few years later setting up in a purpose-built factory on the edge of the town belt.

When the Carterton factory was opened many people questioned whether or not people would visit somewhere in “the back streets of Carterton”, Rosie said.

“Tourism was only just starting in Wairarapa back in those days, and how we proved them wrong.

“We would like to thank all our loyal local customers for their support and patronage of our store.

“Many of you have brought your overseas guests for a visit on a regular basis or passed on the word to overseas friends; local support has been an integral part of our journey.

“Over the years we have had amazing staff who have hosted visitors with the warmth that New Zealanders are known for.

“We thank them all for being part of the Paua World story, it took all of you to create a place that became almost as iconic as the paua itself.”


  1. What an awesome place. The highlight of my yearly weekend away with my 3 granddaughters was a stop over here. Will be missed. We just loved visiting. Best wishes to you all.

  2. Thats so sad. I would love to make a trip out in the school holidays before its gone. It was just last sunday that the kids were collecting paua shell along plimmerton beach when i shared with them about this amazing paua shop in the wairarapa. Paua world will you stay open for two more weeks so Wellingtonians can see you off in the school holidays?

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