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Posts tagged ‘south kaipara head’

Ghosts of Christmas Days past (2)

‘Twas after lunch on Christmas Day afternoon and we were out in the wop-wops near where I grew up. I wanted to ‘go take photos’ so with Dad as chauffeur, Gran riding shotgun and me wedged in the back seat we headed out the narrow metal road to the end of South Head.

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Ghosts of Christmas Days past (1)

I awoke early, not from the excitement of a probable visit from Santa – he couldn’t possibly have known where I was – but from an alarm sometime after 5am in the motel unit next to mine. Delighted, I was.
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School days time warp

In the middle of June I returned to my old neck of the woods, South Kaipara Head, the rural district north-west of Auckland where I grew up. Mum had timed my visit with an errand out to my old primary school and so on Saturday afternoon we bundled Gran in the car and took off on the 15 minute drive out there.

The errand was donating a book to the school library, a book written by my aunt. Taketakerau: The Millenium Tree has been received fantastically well since being published about 18 months ago, and was a finalist in a recent childrens’ book awards held in NZ.

Taketakerau, The Millenium Tree

She has loads of creative talent and one of my cousins inherited a supercharged dose of that too. Check this out.

But I digress… once at Waioneke School, Mum and I left Gran perusing a magazine in the car and we went to meet Merril, the school librarian.

We used to file off the school bus and up that footpath

We used to file off the school bus and up that footpath

This was the whole school in 1978, photo taken just off to the side of the footpath. 6yo Hayley is in the middle of the back row

This was the whole school in 1978, photo taken just off to the side of the footpath. 5-6yo Hayley is in the middle of the back row

When I first started there were two classrooms: the Junior Room and the Senior Room. Along the way we acquired a third, which was duly called (and I’m sure you will be shocked) the Middle Room.

The old Senior Room

The old Senior Room, now the library

With Merril and book

With Merril and book

Being here provided a great opportunity to look around the rest of school. I was last here in 2005 for the 75th jubilee. This time it was getting late in the day with light fading fast so it was a quick blat around.

The school has changed SO much since my day but a lot is still familiar.

One of the old cloak rooms where we used to hang our bags. It looked like they are used as storage these days

One of the old cloak rooms where we used to hang our bags. It looked like they are used as storage these days

The old Junior Room, where I first began my school life

The old Junior Room, where I first began my school life

Today the library is in the old Senior Room. The old library is gone, and the Junior Room has several of these new fangled electric boxes called Computers. The Middle Room, like the other classrooms, is full of colour and creative stimuli and a vast contrast to how I remember it three decades (sounds better than 30 years) ago. New classrooms have sprung up to cater for the 30-odd additional pupils – the roll now hovers around 90 – and there’s even a school hall.

I remember this door ripping back one of my toenails, and I remember trying to capture boys with another friend to take them into the girls' toilets (can't recall if we were successful)

I remember this door ripping back one of my toenails, and I remember trying to capture boys with another friend to take them into the girls’ toilets (can’t recall if we were successful but I’m pretty sure we got into trouble)

Arty things by a courtyard where the old library once stood

Arty things by a courtyard where the old library once stood

The Middle Room in 1981 - photo taken in the old library

The Middle Room in 1981 – photo taken in the old library

A modern 'safe' playground has replaced the old two-level wooden structure

A modern ‘safe’ playground has replaced the old two-level wooden structure

The pool opened in 1972 which makes it as old as me! Gawd

The pool opened in 1972 which makes it as old as me! Gawd

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We left Waioneke. As a spur of the moment thing, a few minutes away we swung up Wilson Road where we lived when my brother and I went to high school in Helensville. Up the metal road a ways, then left into a right-of-way.

Rural road, South Kaipara Head

Farm, South Kaipara Head

This was (maybe still is) a deer farm and a beautiful place to live.

The fences are for deer, not bionic cows

The fences are for deer, not bionic cows

Deer shed and yards

Deer shed and yards

Flashback from the mid 1980s

Flashback from the mid 1980s

Past our house and onto the airstrip where we turned around in front of a guy holding a gun. (He was target shooting.) (I don’t think at us.)

Ah yes... the corner where I may once have ridden round it on mum's farm bike and crashed into my father on his farm bike

Ah yes… the corner (no trees back then) where I may once have ridden round it on mum’s farm bike and crashed into my father on his farm bike

Flashback: My brother and I at the end of the right-of-way outside our old house. We would often grab one of the bikes and head across the farm or up the road

Flashback: My brother and I at the end of the right-of-way outside our old house. We would often grab one of the bikes and head across the farm or up the road

Time to end the nostalgia and get back – Dad was cooking a roast!

New Year Trip: 4~Old schools & a shelly beach

Our walking adventures the day before stopped short of the long detour needed to see my old high school so we did a quick drive by. It’s a much more imposing place these days with a steel fence around the perimeter, a bit of a sign of the times I guess. Mind you, 1985-89 is a very long time ago.

Ahhh, good old Kaipara College

Next we sailed on through Parakai and out to South Head. About half way up the ~35km peninsula is my old primary school. Its 75th jubilee was held there in 2005 and it was good to have a proper look around the place again. Either those playing fields got a lot smaller, or I got a lot bigger. Hmmm.

I can still manage the cross-legged thing, just

I grew up at the end of the peninsula though we didn’t go right out there again this time. We zoomed back toward town, noting the flash vehicles in the golf club carpark, and stopped briefly on the corner of the road where we last lived before I moved into Auckland to go to polytech.

They still have Calf Club day!

Our old bus stop, which dad co-built

The plan for lunch was to stop at the macadamia nut farm café but it was closed. Mike had been looking forward to visiting the shop and especially its bags of chocolate-coated nuts (which you’d think the local town might sell, but apparently not). After that crushing blow we decided to detour down to Shelly Beach.

Shelly Beach is a small community within the general South Head community, being a little seaside settlement about 5km off the main road. It has continued to develop over the years, with new subdivisions and a pretty decent little cafe now. A new concrete wharf helps cater for the boating traffic it gets and also I imagine those who like to chuck out a fishing line. The beach was as I remembered, fairly small and narrow, lots of shells, and flanked one end with mangroves.

The wharf, just across from the cafe. We walked out there and boy, Wellington wind had nothing on the coastal breeze that day

Now that's a classic community noticeboard

The Maori name for Shelly Beach is Te Aukahanga o Aotea (shortened to Aotea) meaning where the Aotea canoe lashings were overhauled. You could almost imagine the area's, er, European settlers... "So, what shall we call this place?".... "Hmmmmm" ..... "Say, aren't there a lot of shells on this beach?" ....

The mighty Kaipara is one of the largest harbours in the world

Taking a wide berth around a couple of, um, interesting local male specimens, we returned to the car and back to Parakai.

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