Thursday, 20 November 2014

Whangamata - Beach Resort for many a year

Whangamata Main Surf Beach with Surf Club  - Photo CRB 2004
Heading in to a new century in 2004, Whangamata had definitely become a Beach Resort - famous for its surfing break, long sandy beaches against a backdrop of bush - clad hills and the emerging classic car "Beach Hop".  Baches were being moved, giving way to holiday houses of more substantial size. Sections were being subdivided to make way for more holiday homes. A long way from the  scrub and titree days of the 1940's. 

In 2004 Whangamata Harbour was a popular place for mooring boats.In the main it  had become recreational boats - yachts and cabin cruisers. There were still a few fishing boats who, under quota, fished the coastal fisheries for gurnard, tuna or dredged for scallops. There was a successful scallop factory at Whangamata processing scallops and shellfish for the domestic market. A marina was being planned near the causeway in Moanuanu Estuary - the outlet of the Wairoa River. ( referred  also to the Wentworth River because it flows down from what has become known as Wentworth Valley.)

Whangamata Harbour February 2005 - Photo CRB

Back in 1943, sixty years previous to 2004, in a part of the past of Whangamata's history during the war years, one of the first moves was toward a Beach Resort. There was even a metal road  from Waihi to Whangamata - just - to enable holiday makers to travel to Whangamata, rather than by sea as in the early 1920's. Tales have been told of the condition of the metal road from Waihi to Whangamata and up the coast to Tairua and Whitianga. Anyway back then - looking at the old newspapers in Papers Past , one can see one of the first advertisements for section sales of the " Miami Estate."

Page 6 Advertisements Column 6 New Zealand Herald, Volume 80, Issue 24735, 8 November 1943, Page 6
courtesy Papers Past National Library NZ
The words of the advertisement listing all manner of recreational activities and benefits have certainly over the years proven to be so. By 1948 what was before just a few houses along the harbour front was beginning to look like a small settlement. Small boats were beginning to be moored in the harbour and unlike the 1890's there was a wharf where one could load and unload people and if lucky fish.

Whangamata. Whites Aviation Ltd :Photographs. Ref: WA-13203-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22701047

"Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand, must be obtained before any reuse of this image”.
There were two main subdivisions in those days of the 1940's - that of Fred Aickin and Philip Williamson. Philip Williamson also opened a sawmill in 1946 which was a convenient source of timber for those building baches. Plantation forestry ( pines)  in what was known as the Tairua State Forest was also well established by the beginning of the 1950's. Forestry cadets were being sent to the Forest Headquarters at the top of Whangamata Harbour, not far past the Whangamata Hotel for training. Commercial fishing still took place in the 1940's - annual total catch being recorded in the Annual Marine Reports ( AJHR's)


Over seventy  years Whangamata has grown in size until it is the Beach Resort of today - 2014. Along with buildings and changes of buildings are those stories that make up fond memories of holidays past. Playing spotlight with other holiday makers' children. The visit to Whangamata's picture theatre - now Whangamata Cinema - on a rainy day. The tale of the pig and the fish that got away. The visit to the Beach Road Reserve Playground to play on the tyres 
( Hauturu the Taniwha).The walk across to Clark Island ( Hauturu) at low tide.
The tales of surfing at the bar. All the stuff that make Beach Resorts a relevant part of the past NZ History.

Looking towards the bar - Peninsula at left, Hauturu ( Clark Island) to right photo CRB 1990'S
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