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.

March 2014 Newsletter



Hi all

The summer holiday season is well over but the weather has settled and for now we are all enjoying the gorgeous sunny days. I hope it lasts over the school holidays and Easter.

We remember Gloria Good

We were very sad to read that long time local permanent resident Gloria Good died in a car accident on the main highway near Manakau on Tuesday afternoon. Gloria’s husband died, after an illness, only 18 months or so ago. Our sympathies go to her family.

Quiz Night

The Heart of Manakau Proudly Presents. The Autumn in paradise Quiz Night –

Date: Friday 11th of April 2014

Time: 7pm start

Location: Manakau Bowling and Sports club

Cost: $10 per person

Teams: Maximum of 12 teams

Register your team by contacting: Sam 362 6556 or samj@candoo.co.nz or

Kimbal 362 6395 or mchugo@woosh.co.nz

Refreshments: The Bowling Club bar will be open. Light snack food will be served throughout the evening. The MDCA will be running raffles during the evening with all funds raised being used by MDCA for projects that benefit the community.

Please enter a team and support your community.

Use of Noticeboard

It has been agreed by the committee that that no political or religious notices should go on our (chalk) notice board at the entrance to the community. If you wish to place a notice please email our secretary on wbra.committee@gmail.com. Our committee notices will of course have priority.

Rubbish Truck

We have organized a rubbish truck to collect rubbish from the kerb outside properties on Easter Saturday April 19th. The truck will leave the toilet block at 9am and do one circuit of the village. Prices will be $10 for a small pick-up or $20 for a washing machine, fridge or any whitewear. No green waste will be picked up

Fences & Gates

We have noticed a few fences & gates have gone up since the start of summer. I can only presume the high number of complaints about roaming dogs has something to do with this. Because of the complaints HDC Animal Control will be making regular trips to Waikawa Beach in the future, especially over holiday periods. If you have a problem with unleashed dogs roaming the streets take a photo and send it to HDC.

Wish List Actions

We have had some replies from HDC regarding our wish list, details can be found on our web site. The roadway down to the river is to be sorted out as it is rather roller coaster-ish right now and we can see vehicles getting stuck trying to get to the beach. Unfortunately there is little money for some other essential items like a new roof for the toilet block in the Hank Edwards Reserve.

EARLY WAIKAWA by Hank Edwards

Hank Edwards opening the new footbridge in 1992.

Hank Edwards opening the new footbridge in 1992.

This was written about 1989 and is the first part of a three part story (taken from Bitter Water — a story of Waikawa by Deb Shepherd and Laraine Shepherd)

Life was returning to normal in 1946 and my father had at last his driving license and a motor car, a Vauxhall 14 complete with a bin box on the back.

Our first holiday away in our own car was to begin to Otaki but after packing the car at Lyall Bay we had to call at “the office” where we found we had a flat tyre — a great start. Arriving at Otaki we found the “paying house guest” cottage a green two storied place and the owners were two spinsters.

A pretty sparse top floor was comfortable but the bathroom and the owners turned out to be unbearable. We moved up town to the Telegraph Hotel and that proved the best move. Otaki town was a friendly place everybody knew everybody and guests at the hotel were a rare occurrence so we were welcomed into the group happily.

Day trips were the order of each day. Buy our chops from the butcher and bread and it was off to explore the countryside. Down every side road, stop at a spot for lunch, explore and then off again.

One side road led west, a long straight stretch of tar seal, a little wooden bridge, hard turn right on to a rough metal road, then a gate barring our way. Stop and explore. A small river on our right looked interesting.

Returning to base we talked of our day excursion only to learn from the locals that the gate was not an entrance to private property but simply to keep the sheep inside as there were few fences on the property and if we went through — closing the gate behind us — we would eventually find a little settlement of a few houses and batches, campsites, a stream, a footbridge, lots of sand hills, a beach and not much else. And what was this place, why — WAIKAWA.

We returned the next day clutching our chops, bread, thermette, for a real exploration. Through the gate, close the gate, down the rough road. On our right a big old homestead appeared surrounded by a picket fence, washing on the line. Enormous macracarpa trees on the left and on the right walnut trees and that stream again, its banks lined with pampus and willow. On down the road and on our left a cottage on a hill and in the distance a wool shed and a big high barn affair that turned out to be a thrashing mill. There were sheep everywhere. To the west we saw a group of three houses, two with tall towers topped with wind powered generators, their giant blades turning slowly in the breeze. There was a telephone line but no power lines.

We arrived at the settlement, the first house was a modern affair of Durock sidings neatly kept but not occupied. Next door a permanent residence of some substance, well maintained and occupied and next door a little house of fibrolite again occupied and neatly kept. The road petered out to a one car track through giant lupin bushes. On we went, to our left a great green grass area with little a little bach nestled in the scrub, ahead the track continued to the right and there, two neat batches close by and further afield other shacks.

We returned to the great grass area there to find a pipe in the ground dispensing a great volume of artesian water, cold, clear and sweet. We made our fire and cooked the chops, boiled the thermette and tea and went walkabout. We found the stream and the footbridge and giant sand hills upstream. Over the bridge and up the hills. At the top more giant hills and in the distance the sea. It was a long trying walk to the shore up and down. The beach was magnificent. We all three plunged into the surf on this hot calm clear day to cool off.

The rest of the district remained unexplored by the Edwards family as they returned each day to Waikawa. For their next holiday they rented a bach, this became an annual event for the next 17 years. “Weekend, school holidays, annual holidays saw us ‘off to the Beach’. When father went away on business mother and I did not break the tradition. With 2 suitcases — one for clothes and one for food — we would board the train at Lyall Bay to catch the Field Express for the 2 hour trip to Manakau at a cost of 14/6 each return.

To trip from Manakau to the beach was by taxi — a 1926 Essex driven by Mr Hornig, The back seats were plush and usually covered by hay — he was a dairy farmer. He would turn around and tell us of all the happenings since we last met — hair raising! Down the road, through the gate and a quick call on Grannie Drake achieved by simply driving off the road and across the paddock without removing his foot from the accelerator. Off again down the gravel road through the scrub and into the bach.

To be continued…

My thanks to John Brown for the Hank Edwards bit and to Erica Wyatt for the photo.

Julie Stichbury

If you received this newsletter by post, and you have access to email, please forward your email contact edress to: wbra.committee@gmail.com

Vale – Terry Brandon

The Waikawa Beach community will miss Terry Brandon who passed away on 31 July 2013. Terry and his family have been long time weekenders at their house in Waikawa Beach Road.

He took part in all the usual beach activities and was a great help to our Association with legal advice when we mounted a successful challenge to the proposed extensive developments at Strathnaver Drive.

We remember Graham Hassell

Graham Hassell, a long serving committee member of the Association, died on 29 January 2009 after a battle with cancer.

In the past 10 years Graham organised most of the working bees to improve the facilities around the settlement.

His last big project was the boat launching ramp, the completion of which caused him much frustration because of regional council delays. He finally completed it two months before his death. After the boat ramp was completed he planted two Norfolk pines in the reserve and probably his last outing was at the Waikawa Beach Ambrose Golf and after match function in early January.