Jason (left) and Tony Campbell are fifth and
fourth-generation respectively of the family to work at
Campbells Butchery in Oamaru. Photo by Sally Rae.
Campbells Butchery in Oamaru has notched up its centenary
Tony Campbell, who is now at the helm of the Thames St
business, acknowledged it was a milestone in the Campbell
It was also quite special, and fairly rare, to have had
five-generations involved with a business, he said.
The business was started by Robert Campbell and later taken
over by Robert's sons, Laurie and Bruce, whose business was
known as Campbell Brothers Butchery, before Laurie's son,
Roy, took over in 1975.
Roy's son, Tony, started his apprenticeship at the business
in 1980, while Tony's eldest son Jason also works at the
Tony Campbell has seen many changes in the industry,
particularly in the last 20-25 years in the way that meat is
sold, and also in the different cuts.
In 1980, there were 14 butcher shops in Oamaru - now there
were two - and that was a trend throughout New Zealand.
Consumers were now looking for "ready to eat products" that
were quick and easy to prepare, moving away from the days of
the big Sunday roast, he said.
Campbells Butchery had spread out of Oamaru, supplying
supermarkets in the lower South Island, as well as
restaurants and cafes, Oamaru, Dunedin and Southland
Hospitals, and rest-homes.
It also produced pie meat.
The business has a strong retail outlet in Oamaru, with a
regular clientele, and did a lot of private processing,
including wild meat for hunters.
Becoming involved with the Oamaru Farmers Market, which began
last year, had also been good, Mr Campbell said.
As much as possible, meat was sourced locally, giving the
business a point of difference and quality control. The
business employs 22 staff which reached a peak of about 30.
Business was going "really well".
However, it was always quieter during the winter months, and
so a good time for maintenance, before preparations began for
the busy summer period and Christmas hams.
Mr Campbell reckoned he was always destined to be a butcher,
recalling helping his parents, Roy and Heather, when he was
"a wee boy" when they were packing meat at nights at the
butchery, and also helping in his school holidays.
He had no regrets about the career move and the business had
"looked after" the Campbell family for 100 years as well as
the staff and their families.
He was still happiest in the butchery, rather than the
office, he said.
He also enjoyed living in Oamaru, saying it was central as
far as distribution for the business was concerned, and also
a lovely town in which to bring up a family.
Peter Wallace, who became office manager four years ago, was
the first non-Campbell to handle the finances of the