This page is where we will collect the stories of Waiatarua.

If you have a story we could put here, or if you know of someone else’s story that can be shared, then please send us a message.

Also, if you are able to tell us who wrote the two stories below we would love to hear from you.

Thanks

Peter

president@waiatarua.org.nz


Those Were the Days —the 1950’s in Waiatarua

The old faithful bone-jarring bus from Auckland City to Piha, would rattle and roll it’s way up West Coast Road with more noise than grunt, encouraged by banter from the local regular passengers. Delivery of newspapers aimed from the drivers window at letterboxes by Jack or Phil, sometimes, miraculously, managed to land on target.

Next stop, Waiatarua Store, owned and managed by Mick Chester. Icecreams, milkshakes, all grocery items and a great meeting place for the locals to share Mick’’s genial company and latest news.

My sister and I would often walk from Waiatarua to Mountain Road to visit our parents, at times stopping on route at a home opposite Atkinson’s Look Out, where tea, mouthwatering scones and rum balls were served. Delicious!

Our parents had an elderly Austin car aptly named the ‘Yellow Terror’ which, to put it mildly, was in a delicate state of health. It was held together with a great deal of faith plus a few Irish oaths, so rather than stress it completely, or have it disintegrate around one of the bends, we chose to walk. On occasions, as if by magic, Jim Foley would appear in his car and offer a lift, which was much appreciated. Belated thanks to you, Jim.

Before water tanks were installed on the property, we would take canvas buckets, cross Mountain Road and head down to what was then a crystal clear stream with a few eels in Spragg’s Reserve. There were four homes in Turanga Road then and just a few in Mountain Road. No electricity, so we used kerosene lamps, kerosene iron and heaters, cooked on a wood/coal range, boiling the washing in a copper, and had a telephone party line which created both enjoyment and frustration. There were no white lines on the road, nor street lights, so driving at night in thick fog was indeed a test for one’s vision.

There was a great Post Delivery man named Mike Marriott, who knew the area and residents well. Now his son covers some of those same miles.

Over the years stray animals would appear for food and shelter an unwelcome one being a billy goat happily munching his way through precious plants. Father decided to chase the wretch down the driveway, only to return as though competing for the Olympics, with the goat having reversed the role of chaser.

At times we would see wild sows with young in the bush or crossing the Scenic Drive and occasionally pig hunts took place.

Neighbours were sincere and helpful, especially if anyone needed a helping hand. Today that still seems to be the situation and long may it last. Friendships made over the years have stood the test of time, through differences of opinions and the enjoyment of happy days.

Wishing you delight in watching the ethereal magic of each dawn, hearing the first bird calls of the day and seeing the delicate beauty of dew drops on spiders webs. Waiatarua is a very special area and we have been so privileged to enjoy it.

Memories are the windows that hold the past in view. Through them we can see again each joy we ever knew.


Memories of Waiatarua

In the early 1930’s, my mother used to rent Parkinson’s House on the Scenic Drive for the school holidays. The winding drive ran from just below where the TV Mast is now, down to a large rambling one-storied house commanding a wide view over the surrounding bush, down to the foothills of the Waitakeres and out to the Waitemata Harbour.

From the back of the house, a track led through the bush to a little stream which had been dammed to form a sizeable swimming pool, constructed from cement and marble slabs. (Mr Parkinson was a monumental mason.) To a child it was a little frightening, as the bottom of the pool was always blackish-green with unknown things, like rotten ponga fronds on the bottom, which were scary for bare feet. It was also extremely cold, even in summer. My mother’s slogan was, ‘Getting out is marvellous!’

Having no refrigeration, in those days, we were grateful for the large food safe located in the cool of the bush by the track to the pool. Amongst other things this usually housed smoked schnapper, which was a good keeper, and in those days it was cheap. Mother also use to put down sausages in tins filled with dripping. Fresh meat supplies and bread were ordered from Auckland and came out on the Piha bus to be dropped off at the Waiatarua Store. I think this happened once, or at most, twice a week and we had to walk down to collect them.

Having no car, our initial transport to ‘The Hills’ was by taxi. From Auckland City the single fare was 17/6.

There was a large open fire in the Parkinson house, and we used to scavenge regularly in the bush for dead wood to bring back to burn. The unsealed road from Waiatarua ended about mile beyond Parkinson’s and from there continued as a bush track. I remember walking as far as Rua-o-te-Whenua with my mother, and being awed by pig rootings beside the track to the summit. Eventually the road was formed and put right through to Swanson. Steam rollers flattened the clay surface until it shone. When the men were not working, I did cart wheels on the surface of it.

In winter we delighted in the cloud mists which frequently enveloped us. Something we never experienced in the city.

Autumn brought black berrying, and there seemed to be no limit to the areas of brambles to which we had free access for picking.

There was a cottage on the Parkinson land beside the main gate, but as far as I remember, there were no other dwellings in the immediate area.

Those, I think, were the highlights of my childhood memories.