Family and golf antidote for retirement sadness

For more than 43 years, Keith Newton has been a "piller" of the community.

But now the Mornington Pharmacy owner is stepping away from the business to take up retirement.

While many in the community are sad to see the well-known pharmacist depart, Mr Newton said he turned 65 earlier this year and he had earned the right to spend more time with family and work on his golfing handicap.

"I feel I’ve been doing it long enough and it’s time to do some other things.

"It’ll give me time to do the things I couldn’t do because of my commitment to the business."

In his first year out of pharmacy school, he worked in Christchurch, and then came back to Dunedin to work "week-about" between Mornington Pharmacy and Caversham Pharmacy for about a year.

He went "full time" at Mornington in 1981, and then in 1990, he partnered up with Ken Campbell to buy the pharmacy.

By 2000, he had bought the premises outright.

While the Covid-19 lockdowns were one of the toughest times of his career, he said they also provided one of the major highlights.

"What all pharmacies achieved during the lockdowns, we certainly stood up and made our presence felt and did some amazing work in pretty trying conditions.

Mornington Pharmacy owners Helen and Keith Newton count down the pills and the minutes until the...
Mornington Pharmacy owners Helen and Keith Newton count down the pills and the minutes until the end of their last shift, before retiring yesterday. Photo: Gregor Richardson
"It was great that the powers that be recognised us for what we do for our communities.

"We made a big difference to the lives of the people in our community. It’s the hardest work I’ve ever done.

"It’s also one of the more memorable times I’ve had at the pharmacy."

While locking up the pharmacy for the last time last night, he said he was filled with a mix of emotions.

He said he would miss the staff and his customers most.

"They’re what made my day — being part of a community.

"I’ve met some pretty amazing people along the way.

"I certainly won’t miss the bureaucracy, or counting tablets."

Today, the Antidote group would take over the premises, he said.