Ken Penney's Barber Shop
A rugby man with a love for Manurewa and Clendon communities is one of the ways to describe local barber Ken Penney. Each morning You will find KP walking his adorable British bull dog, George.
KP, please introduce yourself!
Hi, I’m Ken Penney (KP), class of 69’s Manurewa high school. I was originally going to be a carpenter, but instead spent 4 1/2 years as an apprentice cutting hair under Johnny Kemp. Long story short, here I am cutting hair, and I love it! It’s been good to me as a business, and particularly, I like being in Manurewa and have been for 50 years.
Also, I’ve been involved since about 30 years ago, helping to set up the local Manurewa business association with a few other businessmen, and that’s also proved to be a great link for my business. I’m now going into my fifth term on the local board.
Business aside, I’m a rugby man, I was a junior boy in Manurewa rugby club, went through to senior level, been chairman and [am] now a life member!
Describe what it’s like to be a part of Manurewa?
Manurewa is a great place to be. The community potential, it’s untapped.
My children went to school here, of course they are all grown up now, in their 40’s and 30’s with teenagers. But the schools here have so much talent that just remains untapped. My customers tell me about what their grandkids achieve and just how proud they are; it really does feed through all the time.
Is Manurewa a great place to raise a family?
Three high schools, two intermediates, my Son Scott played club rugby from junior right through to Senior, and my daughter Cimon was a member of the Manurewa Pony club in its day. I would say Manurewa has lots to offer, it is a great place to raise a family.
The landscape of Manurewa has changed a bit since I first came; we had more chain stores, but there’s lots of potential for growth. Our neighboring township in the district, Clendon, has a leisure center being developed -- that’s in the pipeline.
It’s the sports clubs that hold the two communities together. Fundraising, sausage sizzles with the grandkids. Riverton has Randwick park, [and the] Marlins league club, just on Brown Road. It’s all sports that bring people together.
What makes a great barbershop?
Well, traditionally a barbershop is a place for people to connect. Sometimes they don’t even want a haircut, they just want to come in for a chat. Customer service is also very important.
How long has KP’s barber shop been around, and what makes you different from the rest?
I’ve been cutting hair for over 50 years. I briefly had a 2-year break in that time and went to fencing, as there was still a part of me that had a desire for building. But I enjoy cutting hair, love the people, and have never looked back.
When I first started, there were just two barbershops. Now there are 14 hairdressers. I have a loyal customer base, and have had five generations in at once to get their hair cut!
A man’s best friend, your friendly British bull dog George. Tell us about him!?
My British bulldog, George, comes to work with me every day. I walk him first thing in the mornings. The amount of toots I get from people driving past, I think is amazing. You can’t beat the people that are here. They are great company and I have high respect.
Is there anything else to add?
I couldn’t ask for anything better. It’s been a great journey, and it’s the local people that have enabled me to do that. And long may it continue.