“I’ve had a long relationship with Martinborough, although I have only lived here a short time as a resident,” says Celia Jenkins, owner of The Grocer, the village’s new deli.

Celia has baby photos of herself taken in what is now her own house, dating back to when her grandparents lived in Martinborough. Celia would often come and stay with her grandparents as a child, and later with her father, when he took over the house 20 years ago.

Martinborough finally became her permanent home two years ago, when Celia made the move over the Rimutakas for good. Even so, she still did the daily commute to her marketing role at the New Zealand School of Dance, at Te Whaea in Newtown.

“I’ve always worked either in marketing or management of arts organisations or festivals, so opening a deli is quite a switch, but there are lots of transferable skills. Marketing is important in retail too,” she says.

That’s evident in the care with which Celia has stocked her shelves.

“I did a survey before I started the business to see what people would like – bread was very popular, and also cheeses and antipasto.”

The little shop is a gallery of treats from around the Wairarapa – macarons and peanut brittle from Carterton’s Finom, bread from the Baker, Featherston, Kingsmeade cheeses, and marmalade and sauces from Martinborough Manner. She also stocks hard-to-find deli items from outside the region.

Her shopping list for stock is a work in progress as customers often offer suggestions.

“It’s been very experimental at this stage just seeing what works and what doesn’t.”

Having firmly put down roots in Martinborough, Celia feels very much at home, and is struck by the welcome from the community, by other shop owners as well as customers.

“We all try to offer something different, so we contribute to the village,” she says.

The Grocer, 3 Kitchener Street, Ph: 0272557603, @the grocer.nz


Celia knew the site for her deli was meant to be when she found this historic photo of the building in 1908. At the time, The Fancy Goods Depot also housed a hairdresser, a tobacconist and sold  shing and sporting gear. Now also housing the Petit Hotel, there is a BNZ ATM in the spot where the shop entrance once was, and the other half of the frontage is home to Fox Beauty & Organics.