There once was a bridge

Back in the day the footbridge across the Waikawa Stream was upstream closer to the end of Drake Street. Lesley-Anne Walker sent us some photos of how the bridge was, and when it met its end.

Rickety old footbridge.
The old footbridge over the Waikawa Stream. Photo courtesy of LA Walker.
Kids jumping off the rickety old bridge.
A spot of high-tide diving from the old footbridge over the Waikawa Stream. Photo courtesy of LA Walker.
Rickety old footbridge sunk in the stream.
The old footbridge over the Waikawa Stream just gave up. Photo courtesy of LA Walker.

The wonderful journey of Thomas Bevan in 1845

Sometimes when the road’s choked it can take 2 or 3 hours to drive between Waikawa Beach and Wellington, and we feel entitled to complain. With any luck, all the expressways will eventually shorten a standard trip to maybe less than an hour.

But next time you’re stuck grinding along at 5 Kph you might like to think of the trip Thomas Bevan Senior took as a child, back in 1845. [These are merely very small extracts from the full text. It’s still a long read, so settle in. I also recommend you actually read the whole text — there’s a huge amount of very interesting detail in the orginal story that has been omitted here.]

Thanks to Lesley-Anne Walker for suggesting this story.

Reminiscences of an old colonist 1908

My Arrival In New Zealand – How Four Pakeha Children Travelled From Port Nicholson To Waikawa In 1845.

[A false start]

My father … made arrangements for us to come to him [from Wellington to Waikawa Beach] … It was in May, 1845, that the captain of the schooner called at our house to take us four children on board. We were put below in a small cabin, the air in which soon became stifling. We sailed about 9 o’clock in the evening, and very soon after our departure the wind rose to a hurricane.
Continue reading “The wonderful journey of Thomas Bevan in 1845”

The Recollections and Memoirs of Gary Drake, Waikawa, 1875–2018

The Drake Farming Years at Waikawa

In 2018 Gary Drake, from his front porch, looks directly across to part of the 3,000 acres that his grandfather, Arthur Drake farmed. Along with Thomas Bevan, another farmer in the district, they were the early settlers and run-holders that worked the land over 143 years up until the present day. They were the first large European-run farms in the wider Manakau/Waikawa district.

In 1875 Arthur and Thomas Drake settled in the area — Thomas at Ohau and Arthur in Waikawa. Arthur took up 3,000 acres of land. In 1881 a meeting was held in Otaki to consider the establishment of a small farmers’ association in the district. Some 5,000 acres was in the proposal. Some farming statistics printed in the Onslow Historian Journal, Vol. 3 (pp. 90-92) revealed the following numbers of sheep owned by people living in Waikawa:

Continue reading “The Recollections and Memoirs of Gary Drake, Waikawa, 1875–2018”

A Waikawa Identity: Gary Drake

This is the first social commentary in a series of Gary Drake’s memories.

It may be the South African flag that adorns Gary Drake’s residence at Waikawa Beach that captures ones attention; hung at a time of New Zealand rugby test matches, you get the feeling that this individual is happy to go against the trend and normal support of the NZ rugby supporters in the area.

Continue reading “A Waikawa Identity: Gary Drake”

Waikawa Beach A Favourite Holiday Destination For Levin Couple

There’s something magical about the beach area. (12 September 2006)

Tuesday September 12, 2006: Graham and Jan Taylor don’t have far to travel when they want to visit their favourite holiday spot.

The Levin couple’s holiday destination of choice is a short distance away at Waikawa Beach.

About ten years ago they bought a section with a garage on it at the beach area in Manga Pirau Street.

They thought about building on the land but decided against going through the hassles of getting resource consent.

Instead after subdividing their Levin farm block and selling off their herd of cows they invested in a bus which they had fitted out into a luxury mobile home they called the Stonycreek Xplora.

After stocking up on food and other provisions they drive the short distance to their plot of land and camp out for as long as they want.

Favourite visiting times are during the whitebaiting season or Christmas periods or simply whenever they feel the urge.

Mr Taylor said there was something magical about the beach area.

“It’s just so peaceful. It’s another world.”

He said very few people knew about Waikawa Beach until about five years ago when subdivisions started happening especially Strathnaver Glen.

“That gave it a lot more publicity and then there was another subdivision with Waikawa Heights.

“We’ve known about the area for years and started to go out there about 40 years ago.

“While more people are living there now there are times when there’s no one around and you’re the only one on the beach.”

Graham and Jan Taylor like to stay at Waikawa Beach in the comfort of their luxury motor home.
Graham and Jan Taylor like to stay at Waikawa Beach in the comfort of their luxury motor home.

Some of the couple’s favourite pastimes in the area include walking around the expansive beach area to casting whitebait nets.

“Our holidays vary from a couple of weeks to just a few days. It’s great because it’s handy enough to get out there anytime. It’s not a big trip away,” he said.

Mrs Taylor said Waikawa was a quiet laid back place.

“There’s no commercial area and not even a shop — but that doesn’t bother us. It’s part of the appeal.”

By DAVID HAXTON

Source: A Horowhenua-Kapiti Chronicle series celebrating all that is good about life in our region — Tuesday September 12, 2006

Many thanks to Linda Lambess for not only contributing this article from her archives, but also typing it up. See also A Jewel In The Crown.

Original article, September 12, 2006.
Original article, September 12, 2006. Click for larger version.

A Jewel In The Crown

Ike Miratana said the community was full of good people who were conscious of protecting the environment especially as it was one of five areas in the whole world that has got toheroas. (12 September 2006)

Tuesday September 12, 2006: Ike Miratana loves Waikawa Beach.

Walking around one of the jewels in Horowhenua’s geographical crown his eyes light up when discussing the many features that make the area so special.

His family own a dairy farm in the beach area supplying milk to Fonterra as well as growing pine trees.

They have another section of land which is used as a run-off block and could be opened for development at some stage.

Mr Miratana, from the local Ngati Wehiwehi iwi, said most people came to the area because it had a nice climate and it wasn’t overcrowded.

He reckoned the population was about 200-300 though many didn’t live there permanently and only came out in the weekends from cities like Wellington and Palmerston North.

Numbers in the area were growing especially with two new subdivisions sprouting up called Waikawa Heights and Strathnaver Glen.

One of the newest residents was former All Black skipper Tana Umaga who is having a house built at Strathnaver Glen.

Mr Miratana’s seen Umaga once or twice and good-naturedly described him as looking a bit like a hobo.

“He’s a dag. A hell of a nice bloke. You’d never pick him out as being the All Blacks captain. He’s really down to earth.”

He said the community was full of good people who were conscious of protecting the environment especially as it was one of five areas in the whole world that has got toheroas.

“Everyone is friendly and willing to help. There’s a good cross section of people living here.”

The area had a lot to offer for people especially those interested in the outdoors with a number of good walking tracks, excellent fishing, fantastic coastline and safe swimming areas.

Summer time saw many attracted to the area to relax along the coastline.

“Come here at Christmas time and you can’t move because there’s so many people here.”

And each year around February time Ngati Wehiwehi and Tu Koreke people would stay for a few days or more and canoe race at the water’s edge.

Ike Miratana says there’s a lot to like about Waikawa Beach. Photo by David Haxton.
Ike Miratana says there’s a lot to like about Waikawa Beach. Photo by David Haxton.

Resident Erica Wyatt said it was a nice tidy community with caring people.

She said it appealed because it was a quiet place with no shops and that not a lot of people knew about it.

“It’s the best kept secret in New Zealand and we want it to stay that way really.”

Before heading out for a run Mike Bentley, pictured, was asked what he liked about Waikawa Beach. Photo by David Haxton.
Before heading out for a run Mike Bentley, pictured, was asked what he liked about Waikawa Beach. Photo by David Haxton.

Before heading out for a run Mike Bentley, pictured, was asked what he liked about Waikawa Beach. He said the area was head and shoulders above other local seaside areas.

“It’s the best on the coast by far. It’s just different with its vast barren areas, beautiful beachline and great sand dunes.”

The local resident who rents and works in the area said it was great place to live and holiday.

FACT FILE:

  • Waikawa means bitter or sour water. Wai means water and kawa means bitter.
  • From 1821 to 1823 famous Maori chief Te Rauparaha leads NgatiToa migration to the Horowhenua which was then dominated by Muaupoko and Ngati Apa. Pa-Te Rauparaha was established along the Waikawa River.
  • In late 1840 Thomas and Mary Bevan and their six children leave England on the Lady Nugent for New Zealand. They arrive in Wellington in March 1841 without Mrs Bevan and a two year old son who both died while at sea. Mr Bevan sets up a homestead and rope making business in Waikawa in about 1844.
  • Thomas and Ceres Drake and their one-year-old daughter arrived in Wellington from England in January 1840 on the Aurora. Many years later from about 1875 one of their sons Arthur Drake settled into the old Bevan homestead and leased and then bought a large area of land at Waikawa Beach from the Ngati Wehiwehi and became the first European land owning farmer there.
  • In April 1888 the four masted iron barque Weatherfield got stranded on shore at Waikawa Beach. It wasn’t until October 1892 when it was finally refloated by diverting the river.
  • A German mine was washed up at Waikawa Beach during World War I in 1918. It was destroyed by the Royal New Zealand Navy in an explosion easily heard and felt in Otaki.
  • The road to Waikawa Beach from Manakau was metalled in 1920. It still follows the original track.
  • Electricity arrives in Waikawa Beach in 1956.
  • Waikawa Beach was used as a filming location for many episodes of Close to Home, part of a drama series called The Governor and was in a commercial where a car was catapulted from a large rubber band.
  • In 1982 a 50 tonne sperm whale was found dead on the shoreline at Waikawa Beach and had to be cut in two before it was shifted and buried in sand.

By DAVID HAXTON

Source: A Horowhenua-Kapiti Chronicle series celebrating all that is good about life in our region — Tuesday September 12, 2006

Many thanks to Linda Lambess for not only contributing this article from her archives, but also typing it up. See also Waikawa Beach A Favourite Holiday Destination For Levin Couple.

Original article, September 12, 2006.
Original article, September 12, 2006. Click for larger version.