Opossum World in Napier is moving to the suburbs

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The Opossum World museum has been a calling card for visitors.

Defending the pesky opossum has been part of Napier’s makeup for four decades, but now it’s time for the Opossum World destination to shut down.

Owners Lynette and Ian Jarvis took over the business six years ago, but with a new hip on the horizon and Covid in the midst, it’s time to stop there.

Although this is not quite the end of the story.

Lynette and Ian are starting a new chapter, moving the opossum-wear side of the business to their Taradale-based home, which they hope will be operational from late September to mid-October.

The mini-museum at the back of the store has been a calling card for visitors and is complete with stuffed possums – including a quartet sitting on the roof of a Mini and singing a rendition of On The Road Again by Willy Nelson – native birds by a waterfall and accompanied by a selection of bird songs, plus a hunter’s cabin. Everything is being dismantled and moved to its new home at Ranui Farm Park in central Hawke’s Bay, with the last chance to visit on Friday July 22 before 3pm.

Lynette says it has been a busy six years.

“It’s a tourist business. During cruise season, almost everyone came. There were wall-to-wall people.”

Opossum World began its journey in a garage in Meeanee before moving to Awatoto, where it has become a place for the public to see and learn about living opossums. The business then moved to the Marine Parade and began selling opossum skins, hats, and other clothing.

“I worked Saturdays for the previous owner for three months and during that time I realized what a fantastic product possum and merino clothing was. When the owner told me he was going to close the company I decided to take over, which meant the big move to the Hastings Street site.”

Lynette, her husband and her son took about two months to set up the existing store, which was an empty shell when they took over. They have hired staff to help, with an extra charge during the busy cruise ship season.

“I loved talking and listening to people. Making and selling possum products is such a great way to use such a readily available and harmful resource.”

Opossum World, which buys products from five or six companies and posts overseas, is offering an offshoring sale before closing on Monday, August 22.

Lynette hopes to open her in-home boutique during certain hours and by appointment, in addition to offering group product presentations in lifestyle villages.

“I feel pretty excited and positive about the transition. I love the product.”

■ For more information call 021 132 0148 or visit [email protected]

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