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.


  • 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.


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.

Waikawa the way they want it

This Horowhenua Chronicle article from 04 October 1980 talks about how the 46 permanent residents like their peace and quiet.

Recently Lesley-Anne Walker found an old Horowhenua Chronicle article from 04 October 1980. Taking up nearly a full page, the article talks about how the 46 permanent residents enjoy their peace and quiet, but put up with holiday visitors.

Waikawa Beach residents — and there aren’t many of them — feel that during the week, the place belongs to them.

It’s a strange feeling wandering around the streets on a weekday, when house after house is empty and locked up and scarcely a soul is in sight.

But the permanent residents of this small beach settlement a few miles from Manakau choose to live there because it is so quiet. They are mainly retired couples.

Only 14 houses are permanently occupied.

The inhabitants are often asked whether they find it lonely — but none do. They see a difference between aloneness and loneliness.

See the original article in the images below.

Update: Linda Lambess kindly typed out the whole article for us. Many thanks Linda!

Waikawa the way they want it.

Waikawa Beach residents — and there aren’t many of them — feel that during the week, the place belongs to them.

It’s a strange feeling wandering around the streets on a week day, when house after house is empty and locked up and scarcely a soul is in sight.

But the permanent residents of this small beach settlement a few miles from Manakau choose to live there because it is so quiet. They are mainly retired couples.

Only 14 houses are permanently occupied.

The inhabitants are often asked whether they find it lonely — but none do. They see a difference between a lone-ness and loneliness.

With miles of beach to walk, gardens to tend, houses to maintain or renovate, and time to devote to any hobby they choose, they’re a contented lot.

These few permanents have to accept quite a change over holiday periods. In summer the population of the beach and surrounding area (46 in the last census) increases more than tenfold.

“We like it when the holiday makers come in but we don’t mind it when they go,” said Mrs Coralie Hurn.

Another resident admits disliking the summer influx of people.

But Waikawa beach is not another Waikanae — and that’s the last thing its residents would want.

Many of them have come from the Wellington-Hutt area and deliberately by-passed the more southern beaches in their search for a retirement.


“This is the first decent beach out of Wellington that is purely recreational,” says Mr Howard Hurn, president of the Waikawa Beach Ratepayers Association. “Raumati, Paraparaumu and Waikanae are dormitory towns for wellington and retired permanents pay exorbitantly to live there.”

With more reasonable rates, and most of the facilities they need, the residents find freedom from the rat race — and that’s what most of them are after, Mr Hurn says.

The facilities at the beach no longer include a shop but for most locals this is not a problem. A trip to Levin or Otaki is an outing.

Now that petrol prices are higher, this is done less often and vegetable gardens and freezers come into the picture as money-saving devices.

The beach does have other amenities of concern to residents — water tanks for firefighting, rubbish bins on the beach front, street lighting (which has recently been supplemented), rubbish collection once a week, daily milk, paper and mail delivery.


The ratepayers association has taken up some of these issues with the rural district council, and gets full co-operation, according to Mr Hurn. The lack of a public telephone booth has been one issue that has seen no progress.

The phone box would serve in an emergency — Mr Hurn says there have been a number of fatalities over the years.

Immediate access to a phone is not always possible in the event of a swimming incident.

The association is a group of some 85 people, residents, “Weekenders” and some neighbouring farmers. The committee is active through the year, but the whole group only meets once a year.

Business is followed by a social gathering: a rare thing for the beach community, for the people prefer to “do their own thing”, in Mr Hurn’s words.

One continuing project is tree planting — and it was trees that got the association started. People were worried about erosion and loss of trees from the plantation on the sand dunes beside the Waikawa stream mouth.

They got together to put pressure on the Manawatu Catchment Board — but to no avail: Not enough money!

The association would like to see this land, which is still owned by the estate of the earliest farmer in the area, Mr Arthur Drake, made into a county or crown reserve.

The land is on the market, and one of the fears is that it could go into private hands. Mr Hurn says they’d hate to see that happen.

The land — which encases access to the beach via a bridge across the stream — is constantly used by the public.

Mr Hurn again: “It’s weathered a lot of invasion over the years and come up smiling.”

A rumour that Wellington trail bikers clubs could have the money to buy the land is not a welcome thought.


The Drake land was once a vast area of several thousand hectares. Much of it is now farmed in small units, but the 1974 subdivision for new housing came from original Drake land too.

This southern expanse of some 22 hectares is now dotted with the odd house, caravan, shed. Some sections are planted out with no sign of habitation yet.

Only 149 sections subdivided, some 30 remain and are released slowly. From a price range around the $2000 mark in 1975, $8000 is the current starting price.

There is a big demand for these sections, according to developer Mr R.I. Robertson. It’s one of the last places where sections are very close to a beach. Supply and demand will see prices rocketing in a few years, he reckons.

No Snobbery

But Mr Robertson says the idea is not to make the place exclusive. Interest rates are reasonable — although mostly, repayment are required in five years and deposits are five percent of the total. ‘

The growing trend is for working families to buy up build and settle, commuting to Levin or Otaki. A few are already doing this.

Three quarters of the purchasers intend using their sections as holiday places through, but could well settle later.

The ratepayers association, through it wants ‘quiet growth’, could be happy to see all these built on.

Growth has always been relatively quiet from the first staging house for coaches in the 1840’s to the first house by the beach itself in 1925, to the first holiday cottages in 1935: Which included Labour Minister Bob Semple’s holiday cottage. The beach was a retreat for a number of Labour ministers.

It’s thought that through Semple’s interest, the road and the power went through promptly after the opening of the settlement in the 1930’s.

But even in the late 1950’s there was only the one street, Drake Street.

Little threat

Growth has really only happened in the last ten years and does not seem likely to threaten the slow place and isolated way of life of the permanents.

2 Across the Waikawa stream and into the plantation that means of lot to the residents of Waikawa beach. Erosion has long been a concern — and the people want to see the land kept for public use.

3. Mown sections

Some planted out, some neglected, some with caravans, sheds or garages — with the dunes as a constant background. This is part of the scene in the slowly developing subdivision at Waikawa Beach.

1. Waikawa Beach: old and new. The small area near the top left of this aerial shot is the older established holiday homes and the stretch of developing subdivisions takes up the right half of the photograph.

Living in a sleepy hollow has its merits residents told staff reporter Ginny Lee when she went to look at Waikawa Beach into this the third of a series on Levin’s satellite communities. Mike Field took the pictures.

Report on road signs 2003

In March 2003 John Brown supplied this report on signs leading to and at Waikawa Beach.


by John Brown, 2003

This is a report on the signs at Waikawa Beach and on the road leading to the beach.

Some are traffic signs and others give information about beach use and other facilities. Most have been erected by the District Council.

Some are not clearly visible because of their placement and others because they are obscured by tree growth etc. Some are hard to read because they are too small and others because they are in a poor state of repair.

The road signs are not consistent. Only two bends are marked with speed restrictions however there are 5 other dangerous bends covering a 4 kilometre stretch of road. The general notice for bends covers only 3 kilometres. The general notice may not be appropriate as there are some long straights between some of the bends.

Road bend signs.

Road bend signs.

One bad corner outside the 3 kilometre designated area is marked with a speed limit westbound but an incomplete sign eastbound.

Westbound Eastbound and rumble strips.

Westbound Eastbound and rumble strips.

The rumble strip sign is very small and seems unnecessary. If the purpose of the strips is to wake up the driver then the sign will not be seen until the strips are reached which is too late to read it.

The 50 kph sign on the left side of the road at the entrance is hidden behind a flax bush. The colour on the sign is fading and there is another small sign immediately below, which could cause distraction.

Flax hides the 50 Kph sign.

Flax hides the 50 Kph sign.

The recently installed hump in Sarah Street is very hard to see because of the limited paint area on the small hump. The signs from a distance of about 100 metres are hidden behind tree growth.

Sarah St speed bump.

Sarah Street speed bump.

Of the three signs at the entrance to Waikawa, one is hard to read because of the colouring, another has nothing on it and a third, which I believe is of sentimental or historical value, does not enhance the vision of a well maintained and orderly community.

Entry signs.

Entry signs.

The Hank Edwards sign is very good. Some may argue that it is not in the correct position and should be in front of the changing shed in Mangu Pirau Street.

The only other sign at the entrance to Waikawa indicates where the pavilion is but is small, a non standard colour and hidden behind a tree.

Pavilion sign.

Pavilion sign.

There are no signs to indicate beach access. The one at the southern end of Mangu Pirau Street says other things but gives no indication that it is a beach access.

Private property.

Private property.

There are 2 un-marked legal beach accesses further north in this street.

There are a collection of signs near the bridge. One is in a dirty condition. It gives no indication of the distance to the beach. I believe that this is also over private land or is there access around the northern riverbank.

Help preserve the beach.

Help preserve the beach.

Once over the bridge there are the remains of a number of signs, which do not say very much.

Signs across the bridge.

Signs across the bridge.

The only sign at the beach to indicate recent planting is falling apart however most of the replanting has disappeared also. It says pingao and spinifex has been planted however other signs name it marram grass, which is incorrect.

There are a number of fire signs and I do not know what message they convey and to whom.

Fire signs.

Fire signs.

The sign giving historic information is just after rounding a blind bend when eastbound. There are no speed restrictions and if cars are parked at the sign a dangerous situation exists.

Historic Waikawa.

Historic Waikawa.

Below are some examples of signs in other areas but which could be used in Waikawa

Slow down signs.

Slow down and other signs.


At 2.2 kilometres from main road junction a sign for winding road next 4 kilometres.

At 3 kilometre bend a speed restriction sign

At 3.55 kilometre bend a speed restriction sign

At 3.7 kilometre bend a speed restriction sign

At 3.9 kilometre bend a speed restriction sign

At 5.2 kilometre bend a speed restriction sign

At 5.7 kilometre bend a speed restriction sign

At 6 kilometre bend a speed restriction sign

The above signs should be repeated for eastbound traffic at the appropriate positions.

A distance to go sign at the main road junction

50 km restriction zone moved 100 metres east

New additional larger signs at present position of 50 km zone such as reduced speed in holiday season

Pedestrian sign — no footpaths at entrance

Make hump in Sarah Street more visible

Repaint “Waikawa Beach” a colour that stands out.

Remove blank sign.

Move the damaged brown Waikawa Beach sign to near bridge or even over the bridge.

One sign giving all the conditions for using Hank Edwards Park such as No overnight camping, no leaving rubbish, no fires except in designated barbeque area (is there one), no quad bikes in park, all dogs on leash.

All beach accesses marked

At all beach accesses, rules for that part of beach e.g. no dumping of any rubbish whatsoever, all dogs on leashes (if that is the rule and is enforceable), rules concerning toheroa, whitebait, flounder and other fish if necessary, sand dune protection advice.

Information about bird life in the area.

Widen road near historical information sign to allow safe parking.

The following was sent to all persons in the Wellington Regional Council area recently. It spells out the danger of dumping garden rubbish on sand dune areas.

Put weeds in their place.

Put weeds in their place.

We remember Irene Walker

This was first published in the Waikawa Beach Newsletter, November 2016:

The following obituary has been supplied by the Walker Family in memory of Irene Walker who passed away last week. [22 November 2016]

Irene Walker.

Irene Walker.


On 1 August, Waikawa’s oldest resident, IRENE WALKER turned 100 years old and celebrated with a fantastic party at Tatum Park, where the then Mayor, Brendon Duffy, presented her with a letter from the Queen. She didn’t get home till 2am and loved every single minute of it.

Irene and George Walker bought one of the earliest sections to be subdivided off the Drake family farm in the late 50’s and which the family still own.

Those were the days when there was a gravel road from Manakau and farm gates to open and close on the way to the beach. Fresh milk was obtained from Drake’s milking shed which was situated close to the present start of the village and over the years they witnessed many changes at Waikawa Beach.

They retired to live here permanently in 1974 and being keen gardeners successfully grew show chrysanthemums for some years.

George suffered from emphysema and when quad bikes became available they bought one which then allowed them to go down to the beach white baiting which was another of their passions. In usual white baiting fashion, if you asked how many they caught the answer would always be “barely enough for a fritter” — never tell anyone what you actually caught!

Interestingly George never had a driving license so Irene did all the driving. Her family called her the ‘silver streak’ and she kept the license until her 100th birthday, but sensibly eased out of the driver’s seat after that.

Sadly, George died in 1987, but Irene remained at Waikawa developing an interest in art and pottery, being talented in both.

She still rode her quad bike but recently traded up to an automatic bike as she didn’t have the strength to change the gears.

Many people would see her going for her daily walk to keep fit and only these last couple of months did she slow down and needed more little rests which enabled her to stop for a chat.

She attributed her long life to being lucky with health, eating well — cream on her porridge, fat on the meat and getting out as many days as she could for fresh air and a walk.

She will now be walking with George who has been waiting patiently for 29 years.

She was a wonderful, vibrant, interesting woman and will be sadly missed by family and friends.

July 2014 Newsletter



Hi all

I trust you are all keeping warm and dry. So far the winter weather has been a real mixture — bright sun and frosty mornings for a day or two then back to dreary grey weather.

There have been big changes at the river mouth. The river wends it’s way south almost like it used to before HDC did it’s latest river cut — the whitebaiters will be happy. Sea birds are enjoying the change and seem to be hunting in the weed that is lying around like massive rolls of felt. A lot of the weed has now been covered by sand. Also there are lots of horse mussel shells around the high tide mark — obviously a tasty treat for the birds

Weed mats on the beach.

Weed mats on the beach.

40th Anniversary

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the formation and very first meeting of the Waikawa Beach Ratepayers Association.

I’ve been reading through old minute folders and they make very interesting reading.

From the archives:

On 31st August 1974 at 2.30 a group of 27 rate paying residents, (the actual wording in the Minutes was: Present: 27 Ratepaying residents whose names are attached herewith, some of whom were accompanied by their wives or friends. ) met at Mr Howard Hurn’s property in Drake Street to discuss forming an association. The outcome of this meeting was the Waikawa Beach Ratepayers Association.

The first committee was composed of the men who did most of the work in setting up the association — Messers K Dalzell, H Hurn, N Hewitt, J Briggs, C McKie, R Stewart and S Calvert. As it was decided at the set up meeting that the committee be made up of 12 members 5 other people were also elected, Messers EG Webb, PN Edwards, A MacKay, W Robinson and ML Hanlon.

The annual subs were $5. At the meeting a committee was formed and which met afterwards. The following was taken from the Minutes of the first meeting of the WBRA.

The Aims of the Association

The suggestion of the interim Committee that the aims be:

a) To preserve the environmental assets of the area

b) To develop the recreational facilities

c) To protect the interests of the ratepayers


The immediate objectives as suggested by the interim committee were agreed as follows

1) The protection of the river

2) Installation of some form of fire protection

3) The general collection of rubbish

4) Investigate the possibilities of general improvements to the beach area

5) Investigate what measures could be taken to improve the safety of children i.e. the

imposition of a 30mph speed limit, water safety signs

6) The installation of a public telephone.


The following were agreed

a) River protection

b) Fire Protection

c) Rubbish collection

d) Improvements

e) Safety

Not much has changed over 40 years — the aims and objectives of the association are still to preserve and protect our part of the world. We do now have a weekly rubbish collection — this took years of work, with numerous meetings with HDC. The tip used to be off the main highway just over the Manakau Rail Bridge, south of Tatum Park.

From Minutes of WBRA Committee meeting 4th April 1978:

It was decided to couch a reply to the County Council concerning the rubbish problem in the following terms. That because of the extremely good weather during the holiday period the number of day trippers was inordinately large, that we cannot police their rubbish dumping methods and to ensure that rubbish does not get scattered around the area, that we again request the County for permission to build a stand on which to mount the drums. We will also make available during the Christmas holiday period a mini dump bin to cater for the over flow, this to be at the Association’s expense.

By November 1978 the tip was opening at weekends, thanks to the Manakau Township Association Inc who added their weight to WBRA’s requests.

From 1982 AGM Minutes:

It is noted that the local tip is now open Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays, between the hours 8am and 4pm. We should note that the bottle rubbish collection fortnightly, is now discontinued. The two junk collections per annum will continue by advice direct from HCC.

Finally, in the minutes of 24 October 1987 committee meeting:

A public notice in the Press was received giving notice that the Manakau Refuse Tip will be closed from 30th November 1987. It was noted that the County had received further complaints about its operation and as there was now a bagged collection, this was the opportunity to close the tip finally.

Dumped Rubbish

Rubbish dumped at the river.

Rubbish dumped at the river.

There has been more rubbish dumped at the river. What astonishes me is the culprits have to go past a perfectly adequate rubbish bin to dump their filth on the sand by the river. Unfortunately the wind and rain over late May has spread the junk over a wide area and local dogs are having a field day sniffing around the food scraps. There have also been more dumpings of green waste. The mind boggles!

This latest dumping, pictured, happened on the weekend 28/29 June. Someone must know the culprit. Rubbish bags aren’t that expensive, this is at least 2-3 bags’ full. Please stop your revolting behavior now!

A Public Phone Booth

The Associaton also worked very hard for 18 years to get a public telephone booth at the beach. From AGM minutes of 1980:

Representations have been made on three occasions to the Levin Postmaster to provide us with a public telephone. He forwarded our request through his district office in Palmerston North, but it was not granted due, it was stated, to lack of funds and equipment . However we will keep trying as we feel it is very necessary that we should have a public phone in the area.

From the AGM of 1980:

Continued requests by your Association and Council have proved fruitless in obtaining a public Telephone. Even the pleas of our local MP have been turned down.

The committee continued to request a public telephone but by 1992 these requests had been finally and permanently declined by Telecom and no phone booth was ever established at Waikawa Beach. By 1992 many people had either a car phone or a cell phone so the phone booth was no longer deemed a necessity.

Bikes in the dunes

A big thank you to the person who put up a sign at the south end of the billabong in the dunes to hopefully put off motor bike riders in the sand hills. On the weekend of 14th June there were an alarming number of tyre tracks in the sand hills so someone erected the sign in the photograph below. The sign says they have filmed the riders and for them to go away and let their friends know that this behavior is not acceptable at Waikawa Beach, if they want to ride bikes to do it on the beach not the dunes. Unfortunately by Friday 20th the sign had gone.

Bikes be gone.

Bikes be gone.

Rubbish Bags Blowing in the Wind

We had some days with very strong winds around mid June and we were reminded of the importance of rubbish platforms. Until dog owning residents choose to keep their gates shut we will have the problem of wandering dogs tearing up rubbish bags left on the road side. It’s not very pleasant waking up to find someone else’s rubbish blowing up the driveway and all over the property. So if you leave the beach before Monday morning please place your rubbish bag on a platform. If you do not have one please ask a neighbour — there are 2 near me which are rarely used and most streets have one or two.

A huge thank you to the members who contributed photos and information for this newsletter.

Julie Stichbury

May 2014 Newsletter



Hi all,

Winter is almost here, it’s getting dark so early these nights. But it’s great to have rain filling up our tanks, however arriving during Easter and the school holidays was bad timing.

Burned by the river

This morning (May 6th) I was walking my dog by the river and discovered a revolting mess. So… to the lazy, cat owning, smoker slob who felt it was ok to dump their rubbish by the river then try to burn it, believe me it is not ok!!! Anyone who knows the Horizon smoker who buys cheap Budget cat food and doesn’t like corn cobs, please tell them that this behaviour is disgusting and totally unacceptable.

Burned rubbish by the river.

Burned rubbish by the river.

Just a reminder, the local council provides us with both a recycling and rubbish collection every Monday morning. Have your rubbish at the kerb by 7.30am on a Monday and it will be collected for you. Official HDC bags are available from the council building and also from local supermarkets. If you do not have a recycling bin ring HDC and they will deliver one to your property.


They cooked on the wood stove and lit the bach with kerosene lamps and candles until electricity arrived c1956. The toilet was an outhouse that “…provided great compost for Miss Leota’s leeks, peas and cabbages.” Water was obtained from a rainwater tank that houses a meat safe underneath.

Hank would pitch his tent beside the bach at the end of the school year and live in it until he had to return to school. He kept occupied swimming, walking the beach, looking at birds and their nests, digging for toheroas and catching whitebait.

With Ray Drake he hunted rabbit, pheasant and duck and fished from Ray’s boat. He remembered snapper tails flapping upright out of the water at low tide on a calm day as they buried their heads in the sand munching on Tua Tua. Also with a net dragging for flounder and netting snapper. From a boat, with hand lines and later a rod and later still 100 hook set lines bringing home snapper, gurnard, kahawai, shark and more. As late as the 1960’s 15–20lb snapper were regularly caught in the nets while dragging for flounder.

During the 1950’s, the total population over the summer months was about 50 — the Drakes, bach owners, campers and day trippers. In 1957 the Drakes subdivided the farm and gave the Edwards first choice of a section. The payment of £215 each for 2 sections made father a Run holder. The title to the property took years — final approval of the plan, realigning of the road saw a re-survey and the purchase of another piece of land finally gave title. Plans for development were talked of, changed, talked of again, and finally action. The passing road grader was encouraged by a couple of bottles of Red Band to drive the grader ‘up here’. So the drive was formed. A dozer came and flattened the hill top where the house now stands

On this property, the Edwards built the house they called ‘Blue Skies’. Hank did not write of the years of holidays in the house but he was still using it for weekends and holidays when he died in 1993. During these years he gained a broad knowledge of the wildlife, flora and fauna of the area as well as building up a collection of material on the history of the settlement which now resides with the WBRA. The reserve at the end of Waikawa Beach Road is named in his honour.

Thanks to Deb and Laraine Shepherd for the Hank Edwards extract from their book Bitter Water — a story of Waikawa

Have fun, keep warm and dry and PLEASE be responsible with your rubbish so our beach stays clean and safe for all residents, holiday makers and day trippers.

Julie Stichbury