In 1964 Mr Bob (Robert) Neville Matthews and wife Jean, along with his sister and brother-in-law, set up Kaikora Farms Limited. Kaikora was the original name of the family farm located at the south end of town now in part the current location of the Kaitaia Intermediate School. A direct descendent of the original english missionary the Rev. Joseph Matthews, who in 1834 befriended local Maori and set up the original Kaitaia Mission Station, Bob left school at the age of twelve to go farming. He successfully farmed all his life apart from a brief period during the war when he was sent overseas. Bob and his wife Jean had three daughters and it was his eldest Anne (nee Matthews) with her husband Ian Walker who took over the reins of the family business in 1992. Both Anne and Ian had enjoyed successful careers in marketing and advertising prior to making the decision to join the family firm and relocate back north to Kaitaia, the northern most town in New Zealand.
After expanding into dairy farming and horticulture a decision was made to further diversify the company into consumer retail. Like most rural service towns Kaitaia was struggling with identity and investment. Large corporate retail had made it difficult for small independent local businesses to compete and survive but with most challenges comes opportunity. Anne and Ian with their backgrounds in marketing saw the opportunity to bring retail diversity back into the town and help Kaitaia grow. It started with the purchase of the local bookshop Paperplus Kaitaia. With investment in new store design and an expanded product range the store quickly doubled in turnover, was awarded best store in the Paperplus Group, and became one of the favourite places to go for many local shoppers. With the expansion into commercial stationery, which included business machines and printers, it quickly became apparent that there was a need for a greater technology offering.
With no place to expand the current store a small computer repair business, The Kaitaia Computer Shop, was purchased in 2006, relocated to the main street, and renamed Folders. The new name was chosen because it was simple, easy to pronounce, and the store was literally the bridge between the old style stationery folders and the modern digital ones. Over seven years Folders Electronics grew from a small computer repair business to what it is today a multimillion dollar operation providing both consumer products and IT and security services to local consumers, commercial organisations, social agencies, Iwi organisations, and schools. We hold franchises with 100% Appliances, Kodak Express, BedsRUs, and are the only fully Apple Authorised Reseller in the Far North district. We have a great team of people employed by the Group committed to providing a great service to Kaitaia with both our brick and mortar stores and across the country with our online offerings.
It was decided to leave the Paperplus Group in 2013 due to differences in direction going independent and rebranding our local book and stationery store to what is now the office and home essentials store Marston Moor. Our first online presence was launched with www.officecentre.co.nz providing stationery and office essentials both locally across the country.
Change was also happening at Folders. The operation was split between two stores on the main street of Kaitaia and space was quickly becoming a serious issue. In 2014 Folders relocated into a purpose built building at our current location in a new commercial development at the southern end of Kaitaia. With a brand new 1200sq.m building we can now boast of having the largest showroom of its type in the district and the second largest in the region. With our expanded buying power, being a member of the the largest buying group in Australasia, we can compete with the biggest of the corporate retailers. We have a pricing policy that we will match any price of any bricks & mortar retailer, big or small. Locals can confidently support local while getting the product they need at the best possible price.
In addition, as a locally owned independent business customers can still talk directly to the owners, Anne and Ian, and the Folders team continues to have a strong focus on customer service and a high standard of business ethics. We are a strong supporter of community focussed organisations such as Far North Hospice and our local schools in our area. Community remains very important to both the owners and staff.
Simply, Folders in Kaitaia is always worth the visit. Come and see us anytime!