Much loved woman behind Christchurch’s beloved Christmas shop Pataka dies

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Jan 12, 2023 |

Photo: Maureen Johnston speaking to Chris Lynch in 2020.

The Christchurch woman behind one of the city’s most beloved Christmas shops has died.

Maureen Johnston, who started Pataka on Marshland Road, passed away on January 3rd in her 84th year.

Her funeral was held in Christchurch today.

In 2020, Maureen announced her much-loved Christmas shop would close, so she could concentrate on her health.

At the time, she told Chris Lynch the idea to start the shop started more than 60 years ago.

“When one of our buildings was deemed historic that meant we had to provide public access every day of the year.

So we thought, well if we’re going to have these people coming to look, and that really did, we thought we might as well make use of it and do something.

Inside Pataka (2020)

My husband started potting, and my neighbour was into dried flowers, so we made something out of that.”

Maureen was a proud Presbyterian.

“I could gradually see that many children coming to Pataka, generation after generation, didn’t know about the real meaning of Christmas.

And while I don’t preach or even mention it a whole lot, I always liked to have a little nativity scene on display and I would always say to the children, what day is it today?

We would have lots of chocolate Santas to give to them and I would say that’s a gift for you because we’re celebrating Jesus’ birthday. A lot of them look at me blankly, but some of them didn’t.

It was never really a money-making thing, just a family-friendly thing really.”

Long-time customer Pamela said “Maureen was such a lovely lady and Christchurch lost one of its original television personalities.

Maureen made regular appearances on Sue Wells’ shopping show on CTV to promote her berries, as well as her husband’s pottery. She was lovely and funny”

Pataka Berries, which operates on the same site continues to trade. 

Thank you Maureen for making Christmas time so special to so much Christchurch families – Chris

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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