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Those Were the Days the days 1950s 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.


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