HĪTŌRIA: HISTORY I Ōtaki Today, Mahuru 2019
Between the wars: New arrivals, little growth Historian REX KERR continues his series plotting the history of Ōtaki and its people. This is part 9. When the First World War broke out in 1914, 1921, Ōtaki’s population exceeded Ōtaki had a population of 827 (excluding the magical figure of 1000 (still Māori). Large numbers of young men excluding Māori) and became a enlisted to serve and Ōtaki was no exception. borough with James Brandon, a Throughout the district, more than 400 retired Wellington businessman, as young men who were both Māori and Pākehā its first mayor. signed up. Many did not return. When the war During the next few years, ended in 1918, the survivors began to return, several more ex- servicemen but they brought with them an unwelcome were attracted to Ōtaki. In 1920 guest – the deadly influenza virus – which swept the Corrigan brothers took over through New Zealand. Heatherlea Farm as a rehabilitation The cities suffered most but rural communities block in the Ōtaki Forks, which such as Ōtaki also felt the impact. Sadly, Māori they farmed and milled until 1936. bore the brunt of the epidemic, on top of their Jimmy Sievers, who came to Ōtaki losses from previous such deadly events. in 1920, set up as a shopkeeper and Ōtaki welcomed home its returning young funeral director. Harry Edhouse LOCAL LIFELINE: Between the wars, the railway station was Ōtaki’s link, lifeline and hub. men and women as they adjusted to a life returned to the district in 1926 to holiday resort, building a kiosk guest house later role in the life of Ōtaki. It was a time when without war and death. Among those to return establish H B Edhouse Draper & road transport was poorly developed. Several known as the Capitol and now Byron’s Resort. home to resume a more normal life were the Clothing Ltd, a department store that was to be passenger services daily and the mixed goods He gave land on which Feltham’s Children’s brothers Pirimi and Henare Tahiwi, Rikihana an iconic Ōtaki business for the next 90 years. trains made it possible for Ōtaki residents to Home, now Ocean View Rest Home, was built Carkeek, Hugh Ahern and William Taylor. General Robert Young, who retired to Ōtaki travel to Palmerston North, Levin, Wellington This period also had returning soldiers from in 1933, built a home at Ōtaki Beach, helped re- for orphans and abandoned children. and further afield relatively easily. In 1930 he gifted 70 acres (28 hectares) on other parts of New Zealand come to make a establish the RSA in 1934 and became deputy These trains were met by local bus services home in Ōtaki and contribute significantly to mayor in 1945. After a long absence from Ōtaki, which the King George V Health Camp, the that connected the township and beach to the first in New Zealand, was established. In those the district. One was Captain Thomas Bax of Colonel Charles Powles on his retirement in railway. difficult times malnourished children from the Camel Corps, who arrived in town in 1918 1935, bought a farm on Beach Road, Te Horo. Regular goods trains allowed the district’s the poorer urban areas were brought to Ōtaki after a period in hospital recuperating from the In 1920, Leonard Lowry bought Isherwood’s produce of milk, stock, timber, flowers and to be built up in a healthy, safe and loving effects of the war. He set up in Bookshop in Main Street and DESTINATION OTAKI vegetables to get to market reasonably quickly. environment by the sea. business, first as a tobacconist in 1935 he was elected as the The regular services that operated even on From the earliest days market gardening and later as a menswear retailer, Labour Member of Parliament the weekends helped make Ōtaki attractive to played a key role in the Ōtaki economy. In the an auctioneer and tea shop for Ōtaki, a position he held 1920s and 30s, with land in Miramar and Lower holiday-makers in the summer. This became the proprietor. He became deputy until 1946 when ill health era of the beach bach. Hutt being taken up for urban development, mayor of the newly established forced him to resign. The railway station was Ōtaki’s link, lifeline the rich fertile soils in the district made it an Ōtaki Borough Council in These and other exand hub, providing a far better public transport attractive prospect to the market gardeners 1921. As a talented sportsman servicemen contributed connection than it does now. he helped establish the Ōtaki significantly to Ōtaki until their of Wellington. This period saw an influx of As the 1930s came to an end and war again gardeners who were to make an important Gymnastics Club. deaths. contribution to the economy and enrich the life loomed, the Ōtaki Borough, with a population In 1919, returned One person who made of 1780 (figures now including Māori), was to of the township. serviceman Charles Atmore a great contribution to REX KERR face new challenges. Among the gardening families who arrived joined the law office of Kirk Ōtaki in this period was the during this time were Thorpe, Bertelsen, and Rapley. He became involved businessman, entrepreneur and Next: Part 10: The Second World War and the Chittick, Grant, Haywood and Tilbury. Another aftermath. in the community and was the borough’s philanthropist Byron Brown. He arrived in the distinctive group to arrive were the Chinese longest-serving mayor (1929-1933 and 1938district about 1896, established himself as a n References: McLellan, A. ‘Market Gardening in Otaki.’ Otaki Historical 1953). In 1922 he married Emma Gertrude successful businessman and was chairman of the gardeners, who were to add a distinctive flavour Journal, Vol 5, 1982. pp61-69. to the district’s cultural mix. Families such as Applegate, the medical superintendent at the Town Board (1918-20). Having bought most Meyer, D and McLellan, A. ‘The Chinese of Otaki District.’ Moy, Hing, Chung, Gow, Yung, Wong, Seto, Ōtaki Sanatorium. She was to become Ōtaki’s of the Taumanuka Block along Ōtaki Beach, he Otaki Historical Journal, Vol 11, 1988. pp56-61. Sue, Yee and Young were welcome citizens who much loved physician for 37 years. set about developing the area as a resort and Long, M. ‘Otaki Beach – The Last 100 Years.’ Otaki Historical made an enormous contribution to the life of In July 1919, a group of returned servicesettlement. In 1921, 100 beach sections were Journal, Vol 20, 1997. pp14-19. Ōtaki. Simcox, F S. Otaki The Town And District. Wellington. A H & men including Thomas Bax, Pirimi Tahiwi and put up for sale. He had Mill Road extended During this period the railway played a crucial A W Reed. 1952. Charles Atmore formed the Ōtaki RSA. In to the beach (Tasman Road) and developed a
Waikawa bounty reveals the detritus of the human race When recent big tides and winds dumped an Every day the tide gifts Waikawa Beach WAIKAWA WAYS extra helping of detritus, someone on Facebook with a fresh scattering of its bounty: here is put out the call for an even greater effort. a plastic drink bottle, there a piece of rope. Readers acted without hesitation to clean up. Rubber gloves, fishing glow sticks, plastic These Beach Buddies take pride in our beach, bags in every shape and size, and random bits and it makes a huge difference. You gain the of hard plastic dot the beach, along with the impression it's a well-cared for, well-loved place, odd drink can or shard of broken glass. And most days, at least one generous-hearted because it is. person will be out there with bag in hand, You have to wonder though, just what is picking up what rubbish they can find, carting in the world's rivers and oceans. How does it it off to the nearest bin. come about that dead possums, goats, sheep Come the holidays though, there's a whole and even cows end up on our beach? MIRAZ JORDAN new burden of rubbish to be dealt with. Where do the plastic vehicle parts come Suddenly there are partly buried, often burned from, the old computer stuff, the bicycle tyres and broken bottles and cans. There are food wrappers, socks, and shoes? And don't even mention plastic straws – they are a paper or plastic plates, and sometimes even fiercely sharp metal plague. knives and forks. We're proud of our Waikawa Beach Buddies who do Although there's a rubbish bin at every beach entrance, for a fantastic job keeping our beach clean. They should be commended for their dedication and hard work. some people it's just too much effort to pick up what they But how about we all do what we can to minimise our draw carried to the beach but no longer need. on the world's resources, and reduce what we dispose of as The Beach Buddies grumble then redouble their efforts, rubbish? Can we all be Buddies and help keep this stuff out of longing for the holidays to be over, the visitors to go back to the rivers and oceans in the first place? their own homes, and for the tide to be the sole delivery agent of the world's rubbish. n Miraz Jordan is a Waikawa Beach resident and blogger. See www.miraz.me:
Broken bottles and an old hot water bottle – just part of the detritus found by the Waikawa Beach Buddies. Photos Miraz Jordan
A year after publishing the first Ōtaki Today, we've got 32 pages of local news and views in the September 2019 edition.