Meet The Locals: Millie Blackwell, Monkey-Maker Extraordinaire

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Millie Blackwell is the founder, CEO and premiere seamstress of the Greytown Free Range Company, a start-up dedicated to the conservation and breeding of rare antipodean sock monkeys.

I learnt to sew sock monkeys when I was living in Christchurch. A lady who was living in the flat next door taught me- she was an American who had grown up in a commune in Iowa. We would sit on the balcony and sew together. At first I was making them as gifts for friends and family, and then people started asking to buy them. I've made more than a thousand across the course of my monkey making career.

I first visited Greytown in 2011. I'd just moved to Wellington, and I had nothing to do in the weekends. I thought it was a super cute town and I loved the views and the drive over the Rimutakas. To be honest, I don't miss anything about Wellington- I'd rather poke my eyes out then move back!

THE BEST COFFEE IN GREYTOWN IS FROM... The French Baker. I'm an economic localist, after all.

WHEN FRIENDS VISIT GREYTOWN, I TAKE THEM... Shopping on Main Street (can't miss Nicola Screen and Hall for the girls!), then cycling on the rail trail.

ONE THING I'D CHANGE ABOUT GREYTOWN IS... a ban on lawn mowing on Sundays. If I was running for mayor, that would definitely be my platform!

Check out the Millie's monkeys here, or visit Tapestry on Main Street to browse and buy.

This is the first of the 'Meet the Locals' series, in which I'll be introducing you to the cool and creative people that make Greytown the wonderful place it is! Stay tuned for more stories...