Kinnear's seen a few eyesights in his time

After nearly four decades of fitting the right specs, South Taranaki's only optometrist is saying goodbye.

Kinnear Johnson, who has been the face of Hawera's Icare Optometrist for 38 years, retires today.

Pulling the pin on a career forged in the district had been on his mind for some time, but unwilling to leave his community in the lurch, he waited until a replacement could be found.

For Johnson, the most enjoyable moments have been helping his customers and he wanted to make sure they were being looked after.

"You feel obligated to stay," he said.

"We were lucky to find someone to buy it because the young ones won't come to country districts anymore."

The father of two will miss his staff and clients who always managed to cut through the daily grind, but he will happily turn his back on the paperwork.

Born in Hastings, he stumbled across the job while at school.

"Got my first pair of specs at 15 and thought that might be a good job," he said.

Then after gaining the right qualifications he ventured to the small but thriving practice in 1975, and never looked back.

But as farms grew bigger and people starting drifting to the cities his workload changed.

"It's the right time to move on."

However, leaving the practice doesn't mean an end to his life's passion.

Johnson said he would consider locum work but not before a decent break.

He plans to spend some of his newly acquired spare time with wife Helen, and chipping away at those pesky jobs around the house.

Johnson said the rest of his staff would be staying on and an optometrist from Whanganui would take his place.

Taranaki Daily News