Preston's Master Butchers – a class of history

     “Supplier of quality meat products”
Proudly celebrating 114 years one Wellington butcher has been leading the local meat industry.  The Business has always operated on the principle of giving customers the best meat available at the lowest price. The Business was founded by Arthur Edward Preston, a butcher from Liverpool in England who came to New Zealand in the 1890’s.  Reaching Wellington he walked over the Rimutaka Hill to Featherston for his first job.  He then worked for the Gear Meat Company (a local meat exporter) for a time, and after the Boer War he started his first butcher shop in Tory Street, Wellington.

At one time Mr. Preston had seven retail shops in Wellington as well as a smallgoods and a pickle factory both in the city and a bacon factory in Blenheim. A fleet of several horse drawn hawking carts based in Tory Street operated around the Wellington suburbs selling fresh meat to the local residents.
Mr Preston had three sons and two daughters. The eldest son, Arthur Edmund Preston, like his brothers learned the butchery trade and got to know trade stock. For a time he worked on the Duncan Farms near Hunterville, then in Dimocks (later Huttons) Bacon factory in Wellington. He then farmed near Masterton for some years before returning to butchering in the capital at the start of the Great Depression.
Some of the chain of shops were sold off in those hard times, but the three sons each managed a shop. After the death of the firm’s founder in the late 1940’s A.E. Preston II took over the Willis Street shop and was joined by two of his six sons, Rod and Scot, in the 1960’s.

The Willis Street shop was Wellington’s most popular butchery and continued leading the trade until it closed in 1987 when the building was demolished.

During 1978, Rod and Scot Preston opened a purpose built specialist meat processing operation in Hopper Street. The Hopper Street plant caters for the trade –retail butchers, hotels, restaurants, cafes, catering organisations, supermarkets and the general public.

In 1985 Rod and Scot Preston opened their Palmerston North factory and shop at 88 Cuba Street, supplying customers throughout the central districts. With the passing of his brother Scot, Rod Preston is now the Managing Director of Preston’s Master Butchers (with locations in central Wellington & Porirua).

Traditional recipes, artisan practises and gentleman-like family values and ethics still form the heart of the Business today.

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