The colourful interior of Slow Boat Records, a record shop on Cuba Street in Te Aro, Wellington.

Slow Boat Records

In the digital age, record stores are few and far between. The ones that have survived have to be full of great finds, great knowledge, and buckets of personality. Slow Boat Records has all three.

The Cuba Street store sells vinyl and CDs, both old and new. It’s easy to spend a few hours flicking through the racks, digging out old favourites and discovering new ones.

Slow Boat has been open since 1985, making it the capital’s oldest independent record store. The passing decades have seen the shop welcome a roster of celebrity clients. Foo Fighters, Radiohead, Noel Gallagher, and Beastie Boys have all visited while in town. Alongside celebrities, it’s always been a haven for music lovers from near and far.

A CD bin at Slow Boat Records, a record store on Cuba Street in Te Aro, Wellington.

Part of Slow Boat’s enduring appeal is its commitment to sticking to its roots. It’s a record store through and through. “We never sold skateboards, or shoes, or jeans. Hopefully what people get here is an authentic experience of a real, ‘Mom & Pop’ record store. Because that’s what it actually is,” says co-owner Jeremy Taylor.

Occasionally, the store hosts live gigs. Artists such as Courtney Barnett and The Phoenix Foundation have staged intimate performances among the racks. Jeremy delights in seeing the joy on customers’ faces when they see artists performing in the flesh. “It’s a great reinforcement of the sense of community that Cuba Street possesses in abundance.”

The storefront of Slow Boat Records, a record store on Cuba Street in Te Aro, Wellington.