Roaming free at Scandretts Bay | Auckland Council

Roaming free at Scandretts Bay | Auckland Council


I love rowing, I love rowing in the bay. And it’s a really cool feeling when the tide’s in and you could kind of row
parallel to the beach and just get the stroke going, it was a really lovely boat to row. Coz I’m the younger child I suspect I just kind of wombled along and just picked it up as we went along. You know I think as the younger child I might have picked it up earlier because that’s what was going on,
you know. And I do remember going on adventures or explorations and going round to the tree,
and when the tide is high and the water’s quite shallow you can sort of explore around
the rocks and we either walked towing the dinghy if we were collecting firewood or pinecones
and we’d go on these missions to get firewood if we have a big bonfire, and we’d take
the dinghy with us and sort of walk along in the warm water towing it behind us…
yeah just going on adventures in it. We were here from 1971 ‘til the 1990s… sort of a third generation of settlers along the beach and it was a very tight little community and waking up to the sound of the sea, not having to get on a bus and go to the city,
reading a book after we’d had a leisurely breakfast, getting the kids out on the beach…going
for walks, that was one of our major things. And it’s just such a wonderful place to
walk around, cliffs and patches of bush and lots of things to explore, no it was great. The public couldn’t come here, so
nobody knew it existed really, it was just a magic place. Just to be on the sea edge
was just something that we never in our wildest dreams did we think we’d achieve that. There was a caravan here on the site
and a boatshed – with no boat, in fact if you opened the shed door the whole thing would
come down in a big crash, so we worked out how to do it after about ten years.
– The four of us slept in the boat shed at night, we didn’t sleep in the caravan, there
were too many holes in the caravan to sleep in it. We’d cook meals in the caravan…we
did have a stove with a hot-plate in the shed and there was a fridge in the shed, the electricity
was. And there was a gas fire in the caravan to cook on…and we cooked on the beach quite a bit. In terms of living, we lived outside
as much as inside at our place which was different to people who had proper houses. It was more
like camping but with a – – a solid roof over your head –
– yeah So we came here when I was six months
old, and the bach was sold when I was in my late twenties, and so every Christmas and
Easter for…I dunno… fifteen, seventeen, eighteen years or whatever we came here. And
those long holidays…so Dad would come up for a while, then me and Mum and Fiona would
stay up here for longer and we’d just spend weeks up here…weeks, it was cool. Because of where our bach was, we were
kind of the second on the right hand side of the road…and so most people we knew had
to go past our place to get to their baches when they were arriving, and so I can remember
at Easter or at Christmas time if you’d hear a car coming you’d run out to see who was coming – who’s gonna be there, who’s gonna be there. Sarah and I would toddle off,
we might find some friends from down the beach…there were various kinds of games we did here…So
we’d go up to the pines which were behind the baches then and with a bed of pine needles
you could make amazing huts. We used to use the pine needles to make walls and different
rooms and pine cone lamps and we’d make huts in different parts of the forest and
then we’d visit each other. And same with drawing on the beach,
we each used to draw a house on the beach, draw it all out and then yeah, we’d visit
each other and you’d show your sister through your house. But I think the main thing was
just this ability to roam…because the farm encompassed all of this area of Scandretts
Bay, half of Martins, half of Goldsworthys and we were allowed to go anywhere, and so
we did just roam. And there were certain walks you did more often and certainly going what
we called “going around the rocks” – so going out to the Point…when we were a bit
older you could walk all the way around the rocks to Martins where there was a dairy and
have an ice cream – – yeah, and back over the hill coz the tide
would have come in by then. Well it was nice to be in a place which
was very safe…somebody who was anxious might think there were a lot of hazards, like barbed
wire and dogs and odd things and the sea, but really it was very safe. We could sit
on the front lawn and if the children were out walking in the bay or rowing you could
see them, but they could just occupy themselves for hours, there was always things to do.
– And we made sure they could swim and handle the boat and snorkel and that sort of thing. When we talked to George he said – you
should buy another caravan – but caravans were quite expensive, and so we said no, we
thought we’d build another shed. And he said well it has to be a relocatable farm
shed, because by then there was some sort of planning laws and you couldn’t have a
permanent structure. So we put it on some piles with big long runners going crossways,
and then we built the bach on top of there. We had no building skills at all, and Gordon
had a fourth form text book which we used to learn the skills – did you have advice
from anybody? – Oh well we had builders who were friends,
they just came and laughed at it. But never mind…
Yeah, Gordon just worked it out, we built the frames on the grass…studs and the dwangs…and
then we …I think we built all four sides. We put the windows in but we forgot to put
flashings over the windows – Well we didn’t know because it wasn’t
in the text book, school cert year! It always leaked a bit but that didn’t
seem to matter. About where I’m standing now would
be where the shed was. The caravan was also here but it went that way, the shed went accrossways.
And we had a door at the back, and when you came in, that’s the view, about this far
or perhaps a bit further down from the front of the beach. And the beach had a very old
post and wire fence along with posts that were cut in the 1850s I would think. I personally got involved in an interest in wildlife and this is a wonderful property
because it was completely isolated from the rest of the peninsular and it had lots of
rare birds and plants…And I spent a lot of time learning how to take wildlife photographs
and things on the reef and that, and ended up shifting from being a current affairs producer
into making wildlife and outdoor films. So I had plenty to occupy my mind, in between
reading a book. -Yeah. I think what you get from this kind
of experience which has the two elements of the freedom to range wherever you wanted and
the coming back and back to a place…for us firstly the germs if you like or the seeds
of imagination and yeah, it gave us a sense of self-reliance…
-…and a bit like a child in a book, you know when you read children’s books there
are never any parents telling you what to do, you have agency, so we had agency.
-Yeah. Even though it’s been twenty years
now since we handed the lease over and the park was set up, I still dream about it a
lot. This is the place I like to come to…to think, I love to bring my kids here and I
think of it as being a very…I remember it was somewhere where I always felt peaceful
and calm… -It was kind of like it opened a …I don’t
know, it opened a window those periods of time didn’t it, and then when that period
of time was over the window shut …it’s very hard to describe.

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