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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

o-CNN: Getting New Zealand Lamb at One of Auckland's Original Family Owned Butcheries in Swanson, NZ


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There are not many companies around after a hundred years. There are even fewer small businesses that make it to generation three and four.

Destination butchers are struggling, and those surviving are doing so because of their hard-earned reputation.

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We've found one in West Auckland that is our go-to place for the best New Zealand lamb when we are in that part of the world. Part of their story is that nothing much has changed for the last century except that it is passed on from one generation to the next.

Calvert's Butchery has been in the same spot and the same building since 1924 (70 Swanson Rd, Swanson, Auckland 0612). The business is older than the building. Brad Calvert is generation four that took over from his father, John. John himself spent more than fifty years at the company's well-worn butcher's block.

Young Matt knows his way around deboning and butterflying a lamb shoulder. He has done it for the last fifteen years, and he is not a Calvert. He just looks like he is family.


You are greeted by name when you step in the door. The Calverts remember the names of the Two Cowboys from Canada and is always inquiring about the welfare of Henry (our Camera).

There is surprisingly little on display except for their sharp wit and dry Kiwi humour. You have to ask for what you want. Brad or Matt will cut rump steak, lamb shoulder, pork roast right there for you. It is the way it used to be done, and how they still do it today. You are getting your meat from the best produce New Zealand has on offer. Every carcass is personally selected for their customers. It is not supermarket quality meat. Much, much better.

There is no make-believe in this business. It is as authentic as it comes. If you are out of place, it is probably because it feels like you have stepped into the twilight zone at Calvert's Butchery. You have. Places like these don't exist anymore. Calvert's is in a timeless spot that hasn't changed in a hundred years, while the world around it moved on.

I will bet that they will be there in another one hundred years doing the same thing, in the same way. Why mess with it when it works? If we are around, it will be our preferred stop for our New Zealand lamb fix.

Hendrik van Wyk
Kiwi Cowboy

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