Phill and Chris Pirie bring their Mt Eden butchery to the market on Sunday mornings
Phill, what brought you to New Zealand?
As a teenager, my parents brought me here on holiday. I fell in love with the place and always dreamt of returning someday.
What was your plan?
I started an electrical apprenticeship and I worked in a traditional English butchery on the side, to fund my study. I fell in love with the butchery craft and Dad encouraged me to make the switch. After working for several years and competing in butchery competitions I decided to try new horizons that brought me back to New Zealand.
Where did you start in New Zealand?
My first job was in the Mt Eden village - I was there for ten years.
I hear that is where you met Chris
Yes – she was my customer and was always popping in. And we’d often see each other around the village. I often spotted her meeting clients in the same window seat of the local café.
But you moved away from Mt Eden for a while. What happened?
We moved to Christchurch to manage a third-generation butcher shop and learn more from some of the best. The adventure and experience were great and gave me the drive to run my own store.
Tell me about the bike outside the shop
Chris gave me the old butcher’s bike for my birthday and told me that by the following birthday she wanted to see it outside our own shop. As luck would have it, the butcher close to the Mt Eden village became available. Now the bike sits outside the shop and is the last thing we put away. Regulars know that if the bike is still out, then we are still open - even if its past closing time!
I hear that you have represented NZ in international butchery competitions
Yes – I was a Sharp Black for three years and we won three times against UK and Australia. I did get a bit of flak from the English for competing against my birth-country. In the competitions, we got to use our flair and show off our passion and skills.
And you recently did well in the New Zealand sausage awards.
We were delighted to win gold for our traditional English black pudding and were highly commended for our Portuguese pork sausage. We would have liked to see our pork and hemp sausage up there too because it has been a popular one at the market!
And sometimes you lose sight of Chris at the market ….
(Chuckle) I always know where she is. She’s either getting coffee, selling eggs, or chatting at the honey stall … we love the community there.
As published in Ponsonby News : February 2020