Our Heritage

A Historic Bookshop

McLeods Booksellers Ltd was formerly A. T. Coates Ltd. Arthur Coates opened the shop in 1896 when Rotorua was only a small town of around 500 people. The original shop was on either Arawa or Fenton Street and then moved to Tutanekai Street after WWI. The site of the original Tutanekai Street shop (pictured left) is still visible today and is the right side of the current Hennessy building. In 1943, after 47 years of business, Arthur Coates retired and sold the shop to Ken McLeod. Ken changed the name of the shop and registered it as McLeods Booksellers, as it is today. The shop grew and many of the older residents talk fondly of the oak front and lush red carpet. In 1968 Ken McLeod sold the bookshop to Trevor Thorp who was a bookseller from Otorohanga. The shop has remained in the Thorp family ever since and is now at 1148 Pukuatua Street and strives to maintain its old world charm.






McLeods Booksellers Ltd has had a long and established history in the Rotorua community. There are few businesses left around today that can look so far back into the past and still say they are going strong. This page is dedicated to our heritage and will display snippets from over our time here.






"The one source of everything that's good in reading material is a real bookshop, one that devotes its total energy and expertise to providing an unrivalled selection in an atmosphere to suit all, whether one wants to buy or simply browse.

McLeods Booksellers is such, and Trevor and David Thorp are proud that they own and operate a real bookshop that had its beginnings here in Rotorua more than a century ago.


They became owners in 1968 and since then the business has expanded and prospered, aquiring at the same time a reputation as perhaps the Bay of Plenty's finest book shop, with a number of major awards to justify that title.


But increasing demands, the latest technology and an ever-growing clientele has now demanded newer, larger and more customer-friendly facilities, which are all to be found at their convenient location, the Majestic Building, at 1269 Tutanekai Street. 


Perhaps it is significant that the new site (that of the original Majestic Theatre) provided a rich source of pleasure for a growing population over a period of 62 years. There is no doubt that McLeods Booksellers Ltd will continue that tradition."

- Don Stafford 2002

- Regretably on 12 September 2005 Trevor Thorp passed away. David and his wife Lynne had already purchased Trevor's and his wife Merle's shares in the business to become outright owners.



“McLeod's Booksellers, a shop whose origins date back to the end of the 19th century, was established by Arthur Coates in 1896 ... Arthur Coates would have been gratified to know that the store which he founded all those years ago continues to cater for booklovers, and looks set to lead Rotorua into the 21st century.” The Daily Post, Thursday, November 17, 1994-15.



“An old friend, Mr Lochy Gresham, who was the firm's accountant for more than 40 years, said that in the 1920s the shop was run by A.T. Coats who sold books, and odds and ends.” The Daily Post, Friday, July 17 1987-2.



“Those who value books will undoubtedly appreciate the store's mix of old world charm and modern technological facilities. After all what store in town can claim almost a century-old background?” The Daily Post, Thursday, November 17, 1994-15.