A PLACE BY THE SEA: A history of the settlement of Wainui and Makorori beaches
Story by Gray Clapham
In pre-European times Maori lived in their verdant, south seas domain unconcerned about the need to own the land by individual title. Tribal territories were defended forcefully but the ownership of parcels of land by one person or family was not a concept the early Maori subscribed to. A state-of-affairs that would create a major challenge for the land-needy settlers who arrived on these shores in the wake of Captain Cook.
Here at Wainui, before the arrival of Cook, the local people lived a bountiful and industrious, albeit vigilant, life beside the food-rich ocean they called Te Moananui-a-Kiwa. They were the Ngati Rakai people. A hapu group who traced their key ancestry back to the chief Rakaiatane, who came to this area from Whareongaonga around 1660. Ngati Rakai(-a-tane) were part of a larger iwi, Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti, who lived as far north as Tolaga Bay.
There is history of people living here before Ngati Rakai. Circa 1350AD, from the immigration canoe Horouta, Uenuku Whakarongo, a tohunga chief with a powerful connection to the spirit world, was dropped off at Wainui Beach. Here he established a “school” for the teaching and studying of supernatural powers, known as the Wharekorero House of Learning. It overlooked the beach at the base of the Maungaroa (Tuahine) hills near Tuahine Crescent, an area long since claimed by the sea.
A sacred burial place of these very early Horouta people, known as the Kohurau caves, also existed on Maungaroa. Here bones of the ancestors carried on the Horouta from Hawaiiki, were hidden as sacred taonga, a connection to the ancestry from where they came from. As generations went by great chiefs like Ruapani, Kahanungu, Rakaiatane, Konohi and others were buried there. The caves no longer exist or cannot be located, believed caved in and eroded by the sea. Today the Maori cemetery Rakau A Ue is still sited by Tuahine Crescent, dissected by the road, the last remaining of many ancient urupa (cemeteries) along the Murphy Road foreshore, and the burial place of today’s descendants of the early people.
From the time of the arrival of the Horouta there passed some 300 years, perhaps 10 generations, until the arrival of Rakaiatane and his followers who left Whareongaonga looking for a place to call there own around 1660. The Ngati Rakai grew to occupy the land from Kaiti (this side of the Waimata River) through to Whangara. They lived mainly on the fertile flats, sheltered behind the Maungaroa (Tuahine) and the Papawhariki (Sponge Bay) hills in the area we now know as Lloyd George Road and now the new Sponge Bay Estate. They had strategic pa on Titirangi (Kaiti Hill), Maungaroa, Tuamotu Island, Tatapouri and at Makorori where the hapu’s fishing fleet was based. They kept manned lookouts along the seaward hills at Okitu and Makorori.
Winifred Lysnar posed for William Crawford in 1908 as he took this panorama of Wainui Beach looking south to Tuahine Point.
Makorori was a special place for several reasons. In summer, when the weather was favourable, double-hulled waka would sail out to Toka-ahuru (Aerial Reef) where they would spend several days, and nights at anchor, catching fish and drying them in the sun. On return to land from many days in the blistering heat, the fisherman would recuperate and take treatment for sun exposure at Makorori. It was originally known as “Makororiri”, so named for a rare aloe vera plant which grew there. Maori had discovered the sticky juice squeezed from the plant’s spongy leaves was a salve for sun burn. At “Makororiri” the fisherman would rest for a few days (at a Maori version of a sanitarium) before returning to their homes at the main village at Wainui.
“Wainui” was the name for the land area containing the headland and hills of Maungaroa, the flats along Lloyd George Road as far as Sponge Bay and the beach and foreshore along Murphy Road. It was so named because of the wide view of the sea the land offered. The rest of the beach lands, overlooked by the seaward hills along Okitu to Makorori, while belonging to Ngati Rakai, was open ground and mostly uninhabited. It was in fact the buffer in a war zone, and a frequent theatre of battle between the local hapu and their arch-enemies, the inland people from Mangatu known as Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki. A bitter war festered for over a 100 years, being finally settled around 1800 with a marriage merger between the two rivals. Thus by the time crown titles were issued by the Native Land Court in the 1860s the land was seen to be owned by a mix of people of the Ngati Rakai hapu of Te Aitanga-A-Hauiti, and Te Whanau A Iwi, a hapu of Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki.
Before the amnesty however, warriors from Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki would regularly attempt to usurp the coastal stronghold of the Ngati Rakai, penetrating through a backdoor route across country from Whatatutu, down the Waimata river watershed and then through the coastal foothills to Okitu by way of the Te Rimu and Hamanatua streams. Along the hilltops Ngati Rakai had permanent lookouts where sentries kept a constant watch for the enemy’s many attempted raids. The desperate inland hapu was landlocked and hungry for permanent access to the coast with its rich supplies of kaimoana.
Ngati Rakai successfully rebuffed the forays of the Aitanga-a-Mahaki people on many occasions over more than a hundred years but several major battles were fought and many warriors died on both sides. Thus the land where the battles took place was named “Okitu”, or “The Killing Grounds”. Many Aitanga-a-Mahaki victims were hurriedly buried on the hill-slopes at Okitu as the battle survivors made hasty retreats. There is also anecdotal evidence of a raid “behind enemy lines” where an Aitanga-a-Mahaki force entered the unprotected village in (what is now) Lloyd George Road and killed and beheaded hundreds of elderly, women and children as an act of utu for the beating the raiders were getting at Okitu. A large and final battle was fought around 1780, in what we now call the Lysnar Street valley, where the famed warrior chief Konohi of Whangara, a nephew of Rakaiatane and ally of the Ngati Rakai, was injured in a clash in a ravine of the Hamanatua Stream and later died.
This was the approximate local picture as it was at the time of the British discovery of New Zealand by Cook in 1769 (where incidentally Cook’s landing party shot and killed a Ngati Rakai leader and grandson of Rakaiatane, Te Maro, on Kaiti Beach).
Living in a benign climate by a clear blue and seafood rich sea – much in the way Wainui residents do today – the Ngati Rakai fished, farmed, traded and prospered; defending themselves when necessary, in this sheltered pocket of land at Wainui Beach, with strategic outposts at Sponge Bay, Tuamotu, Titirangi, Makorori and Tatapouri.
After Cook’s culture clashing visit here, sixty years went by without known further contact with Europeans. It wasn’t until the arrival of the first European adventurers and traders in the 1830s, that this “land beneath the long white cloud” came under the eye of colonists, poised and ready to carve the countryside up into legally defined parcels so it could be “owned by individuals” in the European tradition. The story of how the local Maori land was eventually acquired here by the colonists was controversial in its day, legally complex and politically manipulated. It is also the foundation of how Wainui Beach was settled and developed to the present.
From the arrival of the traders in the 1830s through to the 1860s the coast north of Gisborne (Turanga) was a wild frontier. Most of the land we are concerned with here at Wainui, Okitu and Makorori was still in customary ownership by the Maori who had been here since ancient times. By the 1870s Government-appointed surveyors had been at work and two large, adjacent areas of land just north of Gisborne has been mapped and defined as the “Kaiti” and “Pouawa” blocks in what was then known as the “Turanganui Survey District”.
At this time European settlers and their political leaders had decided that pastoral sheep farming was the most viable form of agriculture for the “vast acreages of the east coast”. This was the era when most of the native bush on the coast was cleared and burnt. Maori landowners without the means to raise capital to “break in the land” to establish sheep farms, had been persuaded to lease large parts of their lands to the early European “flock holders”. By the ‘80s, with the prospective arrival of more and more colonists eager to own land to support themselves, more and more pressure was being exerted by those with vested interests to end the leaseholds, buy the land from the Maori and subdivide it into smaller parcels that could be sold to would-be, small farmers. The colonising companies back in England were advertising extensively to landless rural farm workers promising land to spare in New Zealand.
But it was not that simple in reality. These were the early days of the various Native Lands acts. Nearly every year right through to the 1930s the rules changed with clauses and conditions to do with Maori land dealings continuously being altered and amended. The Native Lands courts were the focus of continuous legal proceedings and a knowledge of the “native land laws” was a handy skill.
The Native Lands Act of 1865 had allowed Maori land owners to apply for titles to land they owned ancestrally but by 1870 there had been several amendments and new acts passed. The land laws were promulgated theoretically to stop unscrupulous settlers taking advantage of naive Maori landowners, as well as to deter rich entrepreneurs from monopolising the still virgin acreages. Primarily they meant Europeans could only buy Maori land after it had been surveyed and the owners issued with a legal crown title.
Years of work lay ahead in the land courts to define land areas, determine the names of the multiple owners and provide some form of title that could then be transferred by purchase under the (shifting) current laws. As historian J.A. Mackay reported: “In the case of practically every block (near Gisborne), a tangled skein as to ownership and boundaries required to be unravelled.”
Opening up the large blocks for settlement was the major political issue of the era and attempts to “open up” the Pouawa and Kaiti Blocks at Turanga were observed with keen interest nationally. And it can be noted this was mostly transpiring during the 1880s, a decade of severe economic depression.
The complex political, legal and financial machinations that led to the eventual European ownership of the land that now makes up Wainui and Makorori is a complicated story beyond this writer’s ability to decipher with absolute accuracy. It does however seem clear that the lands were slowly and surely surveyed, Maori were given titles, the land was then sold and transferred legally into European ownership, with influential local Maori leaders of the era assisting in the process.
The ensuing European settlement of the land at Wainui beach – following the “opening up” of the Kaiti and Pouawa Blocks – has many perspectives. Various pioneering families began the settlement process at various parts of the beach at different times. This story will attempt to describe this 130-year saga to the best of the writer’s research skills. Once again I must point out that this story is an amalgamation of unearthed newspaper files, title searches, biographical notes and people’s best intended memories. It is not the gospel.
william rees, wi pere AND THE POUAWA and kaiti BLOCKs
Prior to 1883 Wainui Beach north of the Hamanatua Stream (Okitu Bridge) was part of an 19,000-plus acre parcel of Maori-owned land known as the “Pouawa Block”. The Pouawa Stream was its northern boundary. South of the Hamantua stream the land was known as the “Kaiti Block”, which stretched back to the Waimata River at Gisborne. These blocks were the ancestrally occupied lands of the Ngati Rakai, descendants of Rakaiatane, as discussed earlier.
Between 1865 and 1875 the blocks were “leased” to pastoral farming pioneers, often wealthy political figures from Auckland investing in the business of pastoralism, employing experienced farm managers from the “old country”. Their job was to burn the native forest and clear the coastal scrub to create farms, or large “runs”, for the first attempts at growing grass and grazing sheep for a mutton-hungry nation. At first Maori were happy for the lessees to spend the necessary large amounts of capital to “break in” their land, improving its future value. And many Maori gained valuable pastoral farming experience working for the leaseholders.
Early leaseholders, according to historian J.A. Mackay included George Sisson Cooper, private secretary to George Grey and later Under-secretary for Native Affairs. He held the lease on the 19,200 acres of the Pouawa Block from 1865, which was managed by Captain W.H. Tucker. William Cooper (no relation) later leased 1150 acres in the Kaiti Block at Wainui in 1874. In 1877 Mackay reports a messrs Barker and McDonald stocking 30,470 head of sheep across lands in the Whataupoko, Kaiti and Pouawa blocks. However, with the arrival of more and more settlers in New Zealand the leaseholders days were numbered.
In 1881 there appeared on the Gisborne scene a British-born lawyer and Auckland-based politician named William Lee Rees (1836-1912). Rees had been a member of the House of Representatives in 1876 and was an advocate of Crown intervention in the business of Maori land “in order to open up the vast remaining acreages remaining of the North Island” to allow for closer settlement by prospective boat loads of incoming British immigrants who had been promised fertile farms in a South Seas’ version of Mother England.
Rees arrived in Gisborne in 1879 with a reputation as “a clever man with an ability in dealing with the natives”. He entered into association with locals Wi Pere and other influential Gisborne Maori of the time, who saw advantage and profit in being able to trade in their lands. They saw in Rees a lawyer with the skills to interpret the complex and ever-changing native land laws. Rees’s believed only Crown preemption could ensure that “fair deals” took place, with the land being sold to bona fide settlers, rather than monopolists and land sharks. He also urged his Maori associates to retain strategic portions of their land, and reinvest in other lands, so they could ensure the financial futures of their people.
Rees and others, including Wi Pere, persuaded groups of Maori landowners, mostly Wi Pere’s relatives, to sign over their titles “in trust” to a company they formed called the “New Zealand Native Land Settlement Company”. As trustees they had the authority to deal with the business of these lands on behalf of the multiple owners. Profits from selling or leasing the land could then be invested in further land ventures. However, there was much suspicion and hostility towards Rees from his own people with the courts refusing to accept the legality of the trusts he formed. Unfortunately the scheme was flawed in many ways and many Maori landowner’s “shares” in the company later became worthless as the Bank of New Zealand foreclosed on lands that had been used as security for a failing overdraft. Lands were also taken in lieu of arrears in rates and taxes.
One of the Land Company’s early schemes, which made national headlines in 1881 – and, if it had been successful, could have led to a totally different history of Wainui and Makorori – was an attempt to attract Irish farmers to settle on the Pouawa Block.
Acting for George Reed, an Irish-born New Zealand newspaper owner and politician, Rees and Wi Pere attempted to facilitate the purchase of the Pouawa Block from its Maori landowners on behalf of Reed. This was to be done by persuading the sixty or so Maori owners to sign over 12,000 acres of their land in trust to allow it to be subdivided and sold in blocks to the Belfast settlers. Paying out existing leaseholders was all part of the complicated deal. The deal was widely publicised but at the 11th hour judges of the Native Land Court stopped the transfer of title and the Irish crofters were diverted elsewhere. It was in this turbulent political climate that the business of claiming title, leasing, selling and subdividing the lands around Wainui and Makorori beaches was played out.
Title searches show that in 1870 title to the 19,200 acres of the Pouawa Block (under the conditions of the 1867 Native Lands Act) was in the name of Hirini Te Kani and nine others of the local hapu. How this block was subdivided and sold to Europeans is beyond this writer’s ability to account for in detail. However, with regard to the land from the Okitu Bridge to Makorori, records show that by 1889, 3009 acres (what we now recognise as Waimoana Station, Makorori Station, the Wainui and Makorori headlands and most of the beachfront lands from the Hamanatua Stream to Tatapouri Beach) was in the name of the New Zealand Native Land Settlement Company and heavily mortgaged to the Bank of New Zealand.
In August of that same year several of the original customary owners bought the land back into their names. (It is thought William Douglas Lysnar assisted in this process.) Names on the title included Hirini Te Kani (protégé of the great chief Te Kani-A-Takirau), Eruera Harete (who was also known as Edward Frances (E.F.) Harris, the oldest son of pioneering Gisborne trader Captain John Harris and his Maori wife Tukura), Wi Matangi, Pera Te Weri (from whom the Ferris family descend) and several others of the Ngati Rakai. Mortgages were taken out on the property through the mid ‘90s. Te Kani died in 1896 and Harete in 1898, about the time the land was finally fell into non-Maori ownership.
W.D. LYSNAR and WAIMOANA STATION
W. Douglas Lysnar poses for William Crawford in 1912 with his wife Ida and only daughter Winifred who in later years ran the Wainui Beach horse riding school.
In 1897 William Douglas Lysnar, the turn-of-the-century businessman, Gisborne mayor and prominent politician, purchased most of the land from Hamanatua Stream to Makorori Headland from its Maori owners. It was first known as “Makorori Station” and was developed by Lysnar as a sheep and cattle property with a dairy herd at Makorori.
In 1919 he sold 1380 acres at the northern end of the property, along Makorori Beach including the Makorori headland, to a James Andrews, farmer of Whangara, who later sold to the Duncan brothers (they may have been related to Andrews) who farmed the block through to the 1980s. Since 1987 it has been the sheep and cattle breeding and stock fattening property of Richard and Robyn Busby.
Some land along Makorori remained in Maori ownership until it was sold to Winifred Lysnar to assist the owners clear crippling mortgages in the 1950s. However a remnant of the property, a three hectare strip of beachfront land between “The Creek” and Makorori Headland still remains in the ownership of today’s descendants of the original Maori owners. Prior to this, the 152 acre rectangle of land, which rose steeply from the beach at Makorori, was leased by a family called Cowan. The Cowans had a homestead in a sheltered valley in the hills above the beach, which was relocated to Wainui when the land was sold to Winifred Lysnar.
Back to 1919, Lysnar, who was struggling financially with the faltering Poverty Bay Farmers’ Meat Company at Waipaoa, may have been facing hard times when he sold the northern Makorori land to James Andrews. In a transcript of an interview with Winifred Lysnar before her death she stated: “Father put half the proceeds into shares in the ship Admiral Codrington and with the other half he purchased bush at the back of Arowhana.”
The foreshortened Lysnar-owned property, with its new northern boundary near what we now call “The Creek” at Makorori, was then, and still is, known as Waimoana Station. It was bought from Winifred Lysnar by Whangara farmers Ian and Sue Fraser in 1967. (Mrs Fraser still lives in the valley). It is now owned in separate parcels by their children, and by investors and residents who have bought lifestyle blocks in recent subdivisions.
However, during the 70 years the property belonged to the Lysnar family many things transpired which gave shape to the beach community of Okitu which we recognise today, including the memorialisation of Lysnar family members by the names used for the streets developed at Okitu and by the gift of the W. D. Lysnar Reserve along the Moana Road foreshore.
We are fortunate to have a window where we an view the physical Wainui beach environment around 1900 through the photographic records of early Gisborne photographer, William Crawford. In 1908 Crawford paid a visit to the Lysnar property where he took photographs of the farm and small homestead (the Lysnar’s mostly resided in Gisborne), including a series of coastal vistas, with a young Miss Winifred Lysnar posed on the hilltops above the beach. In these photographs we can study the physical nature of the terrain at the time.
Most of the native bush is long gone with just a small patch remaining at the base of the Makorori hill (later to become the Okitu Bush Reserve). The hills and lowland along the beachfront from northern Wainui to Tuahine Point is a stretch of bare paddocks with just a few remnants of puriri and struggling cabbage trees on the steeper slopes, where some erosion is evident. At Makorori the slopes are still partially covered by a forest of puriri.
At the northern end of Okitu, where we now have Sirrah Street, can be seen a modest, single-storeyed, verandaed cottage with a few out buildings, home paddocks and a stockyard which was the Lysnar homestead at Wainui. A narrow, sandy track, where we now have State Highway 35, winds up Makorori hill and in the distance a dusty road parallels the ocean back towards the Tuahine end of the beach, where there is a fledgling settlement of a very few houses. At the centre of the beach, by the Hamanatua Stream, can be seen several buildings centred around the Cooper property homestead, of which more will be written later. Separating the track from the beach is a 100m width of rolling sand dunes, a treeless zone of sand and sea grass stretching from point to point.
The original homestead on Makorori Station which may have been built by James Andrews.
the town of okitu
In 1921 W.D. Lysnar, in a further attempt to raise needed funds, came up with a scheme to subdivide and market the valley lowland on the north side of the Hamanatua Stream and the seaside acres along the front of Waimoana Station as a new residential development he named the “Town of Okitu”. The land was subdivided into 200 lots, consisting of around 170 residential sections or “bungalow blocks” and around 30 larger acreages advertised as “orchards and farmlets” (today’s lifestyle blocks).
A network of “suburban and country lanes” formed the foundation of the current street layout of the Okitu community. Lysnar, Douglas, Frances, Winifred, William(son) and Eleanor streets were named (after members of the Lysnar family) and sites were set aside for the municipal buildings of the proposed village. Lot 17 on the corner of Lysnar and Douglas (currently owned by the McKenzies) was reserved for the post office and the opposite Lot 21 (now owned by Craig and Jes Willson) was earmarked for the village police station. There was a site set aside for a church at the end of Lysnar Street and another larger reserve (where there is now the Douglas Street extension) promised to be the new town’s school. Lots on the corner of the highway and Lysnar Street were expected to be developed as the town’s new business centre.
Lysnar employed earthmovers to create the subdivision, flattening and filling the natural roll of the sand dunes beneath what is now Douglas Street. In 1980 I spoke to my neighbours in Lysnar Street, Wathan and Mary Lysnar. Mr Lysnar, (W.D.Lysnar’s nephew) remembered as a young man watching the earthworks in progress and said one day, when all the work had been done and the top soil scraped back over the bare sand, a fierce northwesterly wind sprang up and for several days blew all the top soil off the exposed sections and out to sea. That is why to this day many of the properties in Douglas Street have very sandy gardens.
The sale of the land by public auction on Thursday, December 8 at 2.00pm at the Opera House was widely publicised. The terms were 15% cash at the fall of the hammer, 15% in four months, a further 15% in eight months and the remainder over three years at 6%. For farmers there was the option to pay for the first 45% of purchase price with store sheep and lambs in lieu of cash. The sale was handled by Common Shelton and Co with local identity Mr C.G. Bloore the auctioneer.
A report in the Poverty Bay Times the day before the sale stated: “There may never again be such a chance of being in first to buy sections in what will certainly be the finest seaside holiday and health resort in New Zealand.”
Just a few days before the sale W.D. Lysnar announced that he was gifting the seafront portion of the development to the people of Gisborne – some 22 acres of sand dunes from the Hamantua Stream mouth – to be used as a public park so that “everyone would have free access to the ocean for all time”. This was later added to by Winifred Lysnar and remains today the W.D. Lysnar Reserve.
There was much excitement about the prospect of Gisborne’s new “seaside suburb” with the Gisborne Times reporting: “There has never been in the history of Gisborne such wide-spread interest taken in any land sale as the Okitu subdivisional sale has created.”
It described the development: “The frontage is elevated, well grassed, flat land rising to level terraces, which all command an uninterrupted view of the ocean. All this front has been subdivided into business and bungalow sections, corner sites having been reserved for public buildings and the school. The nearest sections to town will make an imposing town centre when once the township is settled. A regular motorbus service will be established once people settle on the new Wainui Beach township.”
However, on the day of the sale a developer’s worst nightmare happened. The bids did not come and the sections hardly sold. The Gisborne Times, on December 9, reported that 150 people turned up at the Opera House but showed little interest in buying: “Throughout, the sale was a dragging one and although the auctioneer made full use of his gifts of eloquence the public showed little inclination to part with their money. Only nine lots being sold out of the 200 offered.”
Those few that did sell were — 1 Moana Road (in the cul-de-sac by the bridge) for £120 to Mrs Lunn; 8 Moana Road for £100 pounds to Mr H.F. Forster; 9 and 10 Moana Road for £100 pounds each to Mr W. Hazell; 18 Moana Road for £85 pounds to Mr A.S. Parker. 30 Moana Road for £85 pounds to Mr J.H. Dennis; 25 Lysnar Street for £65 pounds to Mr H.P. Hamilton; 32 Douglas Street for £82 to Miss Lunn. In the Lysnar Street valley one block of four acres was sold to D. McRae at $40 per acre. (As reported in the Gisborne Times, December 9, 1921.)
The development was in fact a failure. What happened back there in the summer of 1921 can only be the subject of speculation by this writer. Was the prospect of living at the beach less than desirable in the 1920s? Or was it the tall poppy syndrome? Lysnar, at 54 years old, was the recently elected local member of Parliament, having defeated the celebrated Sir James Carroll who had been the local MP since 1893. Lysnar had a reputation as a “dogged” barrister and solicitor and had earlier, from 1908 to 1911, been the mayor of Gisborne and known as a man of “strong opinion”. He was at this time, as its chairman, struggling to keep the Waipaoa freezing works from going under; the company had just purchased the refrigerated ship Admiral Codrington and was in dire straits; insolvent by 1923. In 1974 his only daughter Winifred Lysnar described her father as: “A man of action who no doubt made many enemies. Though, perhaps, uncompromising in his beliefs – and a lot of people don’t like that – father was a man of vision, and often many years ahead of his time.”
Winifred, most famous for her celebrated riding school which operated on the old homestead land which is now Sirrah Street from 1955 to 1974, sold the larger part of Waimoana Station to Ian Fraser of Whangara in 1968 and then the riding school property to a Mr and Mrs J.H. McGuiness, who in turn sold it to Bob Harris in 1980.
The Harris’s have since subdivided the land into various residential and lifestyle properties and gave us the slightly tongue-in-cheek name “Sirrah” Street, which is “Harris” spelled backwards.
In 1973, prior to selling the homestead property, Winifred Lysnar presented the 2.66 hectares pocket of native bush surrounding the creek beneath Makorori hill to the Government to be cared for by the Forest and Bird Protection Society, now know as the Okitu Bush Reserve.
A COMMUNITY EVOLVES
The Town of Okitu became a “ghost town” after the auction in 1921 and for 30 or so years it remained a barren patch of empty lots. Then, in the late 1940s, after his return from the war, Lysnar’s nephew and local accountant, Wathen Lysnar, put the subdivision back on the market on behalf of his cousin, Winifred Lysnar. Winifred was the only daughter of Eleanor and W.D. Lysnar who had inherited Waimoana Station before her father’s death in 1942.
In 1941, from the 1921 map of the “Town of Okitu” subdivision hanging on the wall of his Peel Street office, Wathen Hilton Lysnar was instructed by his cousin Winifred to revitalise the Okitu concept by promoting the sale of numerous sections along Douglas Street, Lysnar Street and Moana Road.
As payment for their services, Wathen Lysnar and his wife Mary built one of the first houses at Okitu on the rise at the corner of Lysnar and Douglas Streets, living there until the late 1980s. Daughter, Jill Charteris, remembers it being the only house in the vicinity for many years, on a dusty road edged by boxthorn bushes. From 1941 through to the mid ‘50s the sections slowly sold at Okitu and slowly and surely houses were erected.
The earliest purchases were made in 1941 by Clive and Constance Wall, Laura Armstrong and Robert Poulgrain – all in the elevated the strip along the Moana Road cul-de-sac overlooking the Hamantua Stream to Tuahine Point.
Another of the earliest homes to be built belonged to Honey and Bill (Wilfred) Haxton who lived at what is now 20 Lysnar Street owned by Kath Green. In the 1980s Mrs Honey Haxton told this writer how for several years she carried household water in buckets from the nearby Hamanatua stream when the tank ran low.
Another early arrival was retired farm manager, Ron Cooper and his wife Jean, who bought four sections and built a house looking north into the Lysnar Street valley from a high point in Williamson Street. On one of the sections linking through to Lysnar Street they created a small vineyard. Old “Cooper”, who was this writer’s neighbour in the ‘80s, told me how he designed the property to remind him of a station homestead overlooking its rural domain. The main part of this property is now owned by John and Jo Grant, the vineyard section by Nick and Louisa Chapman.
Win and Ruth Ellis were one of the very first couples on the Moana Road beach front shortly after their marriage in 1948. They bought a two bedroom cottage at 30 Moana Road from spec builder George Piesse.
“There were very few other houses here in 1949 – we were pretty much living out in the country,” says Win. “Old Frank Whiteman had a bach made from two old army huts a couple of doors north and Ted Findlay had a house next to where Graeme Collier now is. The Chalet hadn’t been built, so it was pretty much just empty paddocks all the way to Winnie Lysnar’s riding school at the end. It was much the same looking back to the bridge, the shops hadn’t been built then.”
Win remembers Douglas Street also being slow to develop but a small building boom saw several houses go up through the late ‘50s and early ‘60s. This began with Bob and Evan Craill and friend Fred McNabb building houses in Douglas Street looking down Frances Street. Bob and Fred were such good friends they build their properties with a shared central driveway which still exists today.
The sections available for sale of the Town of Okitu plan only went as far north as number 52 Moana Road at first (currently owned and being newly renovated by Richard and Doris Warren.
Then in 1958 Winifred Lysnar had Grant and Cooke subdivide the rest of Moana Road from number 53 to what is now Sirrah Street. A demarcation line can be seen in the building-era styles between the two Moana Road addresses. At number 52 Ted Findlay, a stock agent, had a concrete block house built in the late 1940s; next door Graeme and Raewyn Collier bought a section and built their classic ‘70s home at number 53 in 1974.
The suburb grew randomly over the ensuing decades and today we can observe the random nature of the various architectural trends of the various eras. Albeit many of the homes were designed as “beach baches” and built to a budget that reflected the cheap and cheerful status allotted to “beach living” in those times. More substantial houses were built at the “Whales” end of the beach through the ‘80s.
The building of the Chalet Rendezvous restaurant in the mid 1950s was a big event for the small beach community, nudging the quiet beachside suburb into national attention. Originally the concept of a Swiss chef and entrepreneur, a Mr Frankhauser, it was built by the H.B. Williams family of Turihaua. Frankhauser and Bill Williams were instrumental in the Chalet becoming the first licensed restaurant to operate in New Zealand. From 1964, under the new managing-directorship of Auckland restaurateur Bill Lane, it became nationally famous and well patronised by diners from Gisborne and the local vicinity for over a decade. We will stop there with the story of the Chalet Rendezvous as the subject deserves more detailed attention in a later issue.
The “Town of Okitu” never quite eventuated as old Lysnar has dreamed of it, but over the decades a little village did slowly develop. Old timers can remember the first local dairy on the corner of Lysnar Street and Moana Road where the highway then dipped down to an old wooden bridge across the Hamantua Stream. The site, then zoned commercial, was purchased in 1949 by David Miller, a Gisborne accountant. The site was later bought by Doug and Violet Menzies, who ran a successful milk bar and a catering business in Gisborne (Mayfair Caterers); the shop was run by their son Wayne and his wife Ngaire. The business was later leased by Alan and Nola Saunders and then by Bill and Paddy Tonkins. The story goes that to side-step a rent increase the Tonkins went up the road, bought a vacant site and built a new store, which is the Okitu Store we know of today. There have been several lessees and owners of the store since then, many of them great characters like Gwen and Gloria Findlay, Chester and Marilyn Haar, Murray and Mary Webb, Willie Rutene, and the current owners Gary Quinn and Maryanne Egan.
The old dairy which became the local scout den for a while slowly fell into ruin. Believed to be haunted by local children it was eventually demolished. It remained a vacant corner site for many years until the recent building of the Dobbie’s new house.
Two sites north at 24 Moana Road there stood for many years two adjoining road front shops, next to a petrol service station and mechanical repair garage. The shops were built in the 1950s by Frank Beckett and they housed a butchers and a hairdressers. The butcher shop was operated by Jack Woolley, who left the Elgin Butchery to start out on his own and also built the weatherboard, tiled-roof house at 28 Moana Road where he lived for many years.
The hairdressers was known as the “Beverley Anne Salon”, run by Beverley Bodle (now Carswell), a local girl from Murphy Road who leased the shop at just 18-years-old on leaving school in 1961. Beverley, who used to bike to work from Murphy Road each day, ran a busy hairdressers; cutting and styling the hair of Wainui locals, school children, coasties and servicing a large clientele from Gisborne, until she sold the business to Tricia Lloyd in 1965. She in turn passed the business on to the local milkman’s daughter, Frances Low. The business closed in the mid 1970s.
Mike Vita (senior), well known from Vita’s Service Station in Gisborne, bought the land and the run down shops in 1977. He later transported a house-for-removal from the Esplanade which he had trucked out to the beach and placed on the site at the rear of the shops. The shops remained until their demolition in 1984.
Before then Mike Vita and Gary Neill ran a popular local fish and chip business for a time and later Mark Barker and Doug Rishworth had a brief go at a vegetable shop, known as “Vegetable Overload”. Mr Whippy leased it for a while to keep his ice cream cold. Before their demolition the shops were used for a while by the Wainui-Makorori Vegetable Cooperative. Several young families at the time pooled together each week to buy produce from the Gisborne Markets which was distributed equally, using the shop as a base. The shops are now just a vague memory to most people. However, they still exist in a fashion!
In 1984 a resourceful Noel Amor, a family friend of the Vitas, dismantled the building carefully, loaded it onto the flatbed deck of his VW Kombi and re-erected them on the road frontage of his property at 8 Pare Street to use as a garage. Ironically, Mike Vita Junior now owns 8 Pare Street – and the bones of the old shop buildings.
The Okitu service station complex, later known as Moana Motors, was built by the Hall brothers – Alvin, Stuart, Winton and Lindsay – with help from their grandfather Matthew Hall, about 1953. They bought the land for £200 when they ran out of room to do mechanical work on the side at their Darwin Road orchard packhouse. As well as a service station pumping Atlantic petrol, it was also a mechanical workshop and a spraypainters.
The Hall brothers were all early residents of Wainui Beach – Alvin first in Wairere Road and then building at 15 Lysnar Street (now Kelly and Kevin Ferris’s); Lindsay built along the road at 19 Lysnar and later Winton further along Lysnar Street still. Stuart Hall and his wife Joan bought and renovated an old bach at 14 Murphy Road in 1956; and Bernice (nee Hall) and George McAra, who used to be the pump attendant, built their house at 49 Douglas Street around the same time.
The Halls sold the land and business to Whangara storekeeper John West in about 1956-57. John West later drowned while snorkeling at Pouawa. Alan Wilson, now 77 and still living in Wainui Road, first managed the business for West then bought it in 1958, changing over to BP petrol, diversifying into the manufacture of stock crates and stock yards before selling to Vern “Flogger” Floyd (later of Enterprise Cars) in 1969, who in turn sold in to Albie Smith, who sold it to Ray Fielder in 1976. Ray Fielder sold to Corey Carlson and Terry O’Connor who then sold to Tim Lloyd. Tim Lloyd, who now owns several service stations in Wellington, rebuilt the building into a modern service station and added the leasable front area which became a fish and chip shop.
After several lessees in the garage and the takeaway shop, not to forget Kerry Clarke’s short-lived Pines Alley Surf Shop, Lloyd sold to Noel and Alison Amor Bendall. Noel had the pumps and tanks removed and converted the building into the Amor Bendall winery. In December the Amor Bendalls, who are moving the winery to the Gisborne inner harbour area, sold to Karl and Kay Geiseler of Winifred Street who are now having plans drawn up to turn the 430 square metre space into a modern beachfront family home.
the cooper dynasty and the town of sumter
William Cooper was born in Yorkshire in 1845. On his death at Wainui Beach in 1905 he was farewelled as one of Poverty Bay’s earliest settlers and a man held in high esteem throughout the district. He arrived in New Zealand in 1856 with his immigrant parents and four brothers. In 1858 his father was killed by a falling tree and at age 13 Cooper went out on his own working for settler farmers in the Hutt and then moved over to the Wairarapa.
Here he became a farm manager and by 1868 he was able to take up some 4000 acres of unbroken land with a fellow shepherd, John Cross. By 1874 they made a “satisfactory sale” of the land.
Cashed up Cooper then looked further north to the relatively untouched lands around Poverty Bay arriving here in 1874. He soon acquired two properties in this district totalling 19,000 acres which he began breaking in and developing as sheep runs. Four years later he was to lose everything he owned after the disastrous failure of the City of Glasgow Bank in 1878. (The collapse of this bank half a world away had a huge impact in New Zealand where it had a large stake in the New Zealand and Australia Land Company and held securities over land owned by many settler farmers.)
In Cooper’s obituary the Poverty Bay Herald reported: “With the stout heart which has hitherto been the secret to his success Cooper again put his shoulder to the wheel.”
Following his financial collapse he arranged for the lease of and ultimately purchased some 1150 acres of Maori-owned land in the “Kaiti Block” in the name of his wife Sarah Ruth Cooper.
This was the property known as “Hamantua” or Wainui Station which consisted of the seaward hill slopes and the flat land all the way to the beach from Oneroa Road to the Okitu Bridge (Hamantua Stream), then inland on the south side of the stream through to the Waimata River in Darwin Road. The stream was the boundary with what was later W.D. Lysnar’s Waimoana Station. The Coopers acquired other larger land holdings inland from Gisborne with the Wainui property considered the “home farm”. At the time of his death Cooper’s three main properties were said to carry 14,000 sheep, 800 head of cattle and 100 horses
The Poverty Bay Herald in 1905 reported: “The situation of this property (Wainui Station), some 31/2 miles from Gisborne and overlooking the sea, makes it an ideal spot for a residence. The homestead has been tastefully planted and laid out in harmony with its surroundings, and probably the many residential sites on the beach frontage will in future years be the suburban homes of the merchant princes of Poverty Bay.”
William Cooper, who was a leading protagonist in the bureaucratic battle against confusing native land ownership laws and was obsessively involved in early searches for oil in the Gisborne district He travelled to the World’s Fair and visiting petroleum producing states in America in the 1890s. He held seats on both the Cook County Council and the Gisborne Harbour Board.
After his death in May of 1905 the Wainui property was run by his widow Sarah Ruth and his surviving sons. A son Charlie was killed in the First World War and son Gordon was severely wounded. The major part of the property went to son Les Cooper after “Grandma Ruth’s” death in 1930 – with a portion of the flats paralleling the beach part of a wider family estate. The station property was later acquired by Les’s son William Benson (Bill) Cooper and his wife Brenda in the 1950s, who eventually sold the farm in 1998. Bill’s son Richard Cooper lives on and owns the site of the old homestead, and Mrs Cooper retains the site with the new house built next to the Okitu Bridge. The old Cooper homestead, which was started in the late 1890s and finished around 1906, was an icon of the beach until its demolition last year,
In 1903, not long before his death, William Cooper had his beachfront land subdivided and marketed as the “Town of Sumter”. Sections were available for sale on both sides of what we now call Wairere Road, from Oneroa Road to the Okitu Bridge. There was originally another proposed road, called Ranui Street, running parallel with Wairere Road and linked by proposed Ngaio and Rere Streets. Ranui Road later became State Highway 35, when it was rerouted from Wairere Road across the Cooper flats in 1990. In 1959 the government purchased some of the Cooper estate for the new Wainui School. The school opened in 1962. Prior to the rerouting of the highway in 1990 the land between the proposed bypass and Wairere Road was acquired from the Cooper estate by the roading authority of the time. This land was later purchased by Garth and Sandra Ellmers and the subject of relatively recent subdivisional developments at Ocean Park and Sandy Cove.
The Town of Sumter never stuck as a name, and the purchase of sites from Cooper’s 1903 subdivisional plan was a slow process. It wasn’t until the 1930s that baches started to appear on the sand dunes on the seaward side of Wairere Road and by 1950 an ex patriot farming community had set up camp along both sides of the sandy track that was the main highway north.
Ormond farmer William Graham was typical of those that bought sections from the William Cooper estate along Wairere Road, acquiring an acre of land over four titles in the vicinity of 39-43 Wairere Road in the 1930s. About 1938 Don Graham, now 82 of Haronga Road, remembers his grandfather erecting a garage on one of the sites from which the family spent weekends at the beach. It was not a bach as such, just a place to store things needed for a day of swimming and relaxing. The acreage was reduced with a section being sold off after the war and then the remainder was divided down the centre by members of the Graham family. Extensions were added to the garage by Jim Graham and it slowly became a classic Wainui beach bach. This was much the story with many of the properties along the beachfront being bought as weekend getaways by farmer’s from Gisborne’s hinterland. Escaping the hot, hill country summers for a day or weekend by the cooling sea was the fashion of the times.
Ellis and Helen Rouse, East Coast farmers, built a bach on the section at number 111 in 1948. It was a long journey to town from Te Puia in those days and the Rouse’s were typical in their need for a place to stopover while in Gisborne. Later the bach served as a place for family and friends to gather for weekend parties. On their retirement from farming in the early ‘70s the senior Rouses built a substantial home on the site. Continuing the family attachment to the property son Peter Rouse and his wife Dot moved into the house on their retirement from the farm in the ‘90s and still live there today.
Viewing old aerial photographs taken of the area around 1950 the pattern of randomly sited bachs on the Wairere Road foreshore can be observed. Only a dozen can be seen on other side of the beach, stopping at a stand of macrocarpa trees where the Wainui school now stands. Behind these properties are the flat paddocks which the Coopers had to give up for the highway bypass.
In the distance beyond Cook’s farm can be seen several sheltered blocks where, in the 1950s, several small farming and horticulture ventures were attempted. Wallace Stewart, who had been second violinist in the Auckland Symphony Orchestra, bought land on the corner of the highway and Oneroa Road and established a business growing hot house tomatoes and gladiolus. Later his son Jim and wife Pat sold half the property to the Bodle brothers who established the Twins’ Poultry Farm. This property is now owned by Robin Bennett. Brothers Peter and Tim Stewart still own the block by Oneroa Road. Also in this area was the popular Bayly’s Plant Nursery which is now owned by Alan and Sue Lewington.
THE RAIHA KAMAU (FERRIS) DYNASTY AND the EARLY settlement of “wainui”
As mentioned earlier, the land at the “Wainui” end of the beach was the original settlement of the Ngati Rakai hapu dating back to ancient times. After obtaining title to these lands in the first rounds of the Native Lands Court proceedings in 1870, some of the Maori titleholders sold their properties, with the seaward side of Murphy Road up to the Tuahine headland one of the first parts of the beachfront to see houses or baches go up. The Cleary family were amongst the first to subdivide and sell off sections. Oneroa Road and Pare Street were also sold and subdivided around this time. There were many transactions, once again beyond this writer’s scope to detail. The area of the beach from Oneroa Road through to Tuahine Crescent was a fledgling European settlement from well before 1900.
Sometime around the turn of the 20th century Charles Ferris sows seed potatoes while his daughter Atarini follows with the plough on the farm in what is now Lloyd George Road.
However, 90 acres around Lloyd George Road were retained in Maori ownership with the title being in the names of three brothers; Pera Te Kahori, Wi Matangi and Pera Te Weri, descendants of the founding chief Rakaiatane. Wi Matangi and Pera Te Kahori died without leaving descendants. Pera Te Weri and his wife Merewai Manuka farmed the land and had just one daughter, Raiha Kamau, a Maori of full blood who had many suitors. She eventually married the handsome and cavalier half-Maori, half-Scotsman, Charles William Ferris in 1885, who was the offspring of Captain C.W. Ferris of the Armed Constabulary, and Keita Te Rapa Winiata of Nuhiti.
Raiha Kamau and Charles (Charley) Ferris and family continued farming the land at Wainui, and other holdings at Nuhiti and Anaura Bay, through to the 1950s. A two-storeyed homestead on the property was the family seat. (The house was burned to the ground and replaced in the early 1930s.) The couple had five children – James Paumea, Donald Mataira (died at Gallipoli), Atarini, Hirini Te Kani and Takatoroa. Talking to descendants of the original Maori owners, particularly Ingrid Searancke (daughter of James Paumea), a picture emerges from the 1890s to the 1950s of a busy, fertile triangle of farmland from Sponge Bay through to the beach at Murphy Road.
Ingrid Searancke, now 83 and born in 1925, who still lives with her family on three remaining acres of the old property at 41-51 Lloyd George Road, remembers many social events at her grandparents fine home, with other Wainui farming families and friends from Gisborne attending.
Close to the beach, sheltered from cold southerlies, frost free with a warm micro-climate and a clean water supply from a spring-fed Wainui stream, with soils conducive to horticulture, it was an enviable location. A large dairy herd was kept at one time and over the decades many crops were grown here, including kumara, potatoes and other crops. Later seedling plants, strawberries and vegetables were grown. Wainui grown potatoes, of which three crops could be grown a year, and Wainui kumara were held in high esteem and freighted to markets all over New Zealand.
At one time, between 1900 and 1915, there was a kautawhare, or a meeting hall, at the back of the cemetery near Murphy Road. It served as a church and as a place for locals to gather. It had mostly a hard dirt floor with long tables and forms to sit on, with a raised wooden-floored platform at the far end with bunks and beds where local children would be put to sleep while their parents played cards, danced or held fund raising events for the building of the new Te Poho-o-Rawiri marae in town. It slowly fell to ruin, finally consumed by fire around 1933.
Raiha Kamau died in 1924 with Charles Ferris living through to the 1950s. Hirini Te Kani Ferris had five children and James (Jim) Ferris also had five children – William (Bill), Ingrid, James, Julie and Robert.
Bill Ferris was well-known in his day for the entrepreneurial horticultural business he ran on his Lloyd George Road acreage, and another block he bought along Murphy Road, until his untimely death at age 44 from leukemia in the 1960s. At one time Bill and May Ferris sent flowers and vegetable seedling plants all over New Zealand (wrapped in newspaper and tied up with a strand of flax) supplying the Woolworths chain of stores. Most of his children and those of Ingrid, Julie and Robert still live in the Wainui community.
One question that could be asked is: Why was the road named “Lloyd George”, after the British politician who was prime minister from 1916 to 1922, instead of after the family with such a strong tie to the area? The name is an anomaly when we consider most of the street names at Wainui are named after pioneering families such as Cooper, Lysnar, Cleary, Murphy and the Maori names Moana, Wairere, Pare and Tuahine are names of consequence to local Maori. Lloyd George became an official road when the government put in the radio transmitter at the end of the track into the Ferris property in the 1940s. It is considered a strong possibility that when it was suggested the road be named “Ferris”, it was declined by the man of the moment who may have believed street names were memorials for people no longer living and did not want fate tempted. Thus the local authority continued with its trend of naming Gisborne streets after British politicians.
One of the earliest European families to arrive at Wainui were the Phelps who initially settled in Murphy Road. George Frederick Phelps arrived at the beach from Wales in 1897 and soon after bought a block of land that can now be described as the beach side of Murphy Road from Oneroa to Cooper Street. At that time there were only a handful of families living at Wainui – the Ferris whanau of Raiha Kamau, the Clearys, the Coopers at Hamanatua Station, the Phelps and the Cooks who ran dairy cows and had a milking shed just over the Wainui stream near Cleary Road.
Welshman George Phelps ran bullock wagons from his property, loading wool bales onto scows bound for Auckland which came ashore at Wainui Beach at the “Stock Route”. The family later modernised the operation with Phelps Transport becoming a well-known trucking firm in the Gisborne district for many years.
When George died in 1912 he left behind five children and each acquired one of the sections along Murphy Road, of which most were sold on during the 1960s. Des Phelps remained the longest, with his house on the corner of Oneroa and Murphy from where he operated the family trucking business, Des Phelps Ltd, logging out of the Motu and up the East Coast
Later he was joined by his sons Fred and Kevin Phelps who worked in the family business. Fred Phelps then went out on his own as F.J. Phelps Ltd building forestry roads around the district. Fred and Anne lived on the beachfront along Wairere Road, first building a small house at 125 Wairere in 1958 and then building a newer house (now owned by the Rishworths) on a double section at 127 in 1970.
Fred – who sold up and left Wainui in 1986 to move to the West Coast, where he and his wife Anne continue to run a gold mining operation on property they own near Hokitika – says he did the local paper run in the 1930s, delivering just on 100 papers as far as the last house at the beach which was the Okitu shop which stood just over the wooden Hamantua Bridge. From there to Winnie Lysnar’s house at the far end of the beach it was uninhabited.
By the late 1930s the southern pocket of Wainui was quite established with cottages and baches on the slopes above Tuahine Crescent and along the seaward side of Murphy Road. This was land that Maori owners were first given title to in the 1870s. Much of this area, including Pare and Cooper streets, was subdivided and put up for sale by E.R. and J.R. Murphy in 1926 (known then as the Sumter extension). By the late 1940s Pare Street was well developed with almost all sections on both sides built on.
The centre of the community was Oneroa Road. There was Firth’s ice cream kiosk on the corner where Richard Gordon’s shed now is and on the other side was a Four Square Store, built in 1935, which housed the post office with a petrol pump. (Now the new Wainui Store.)
Beverly Carswell (nee Bodle) was a young girl in the ‘50s living in the house which her parents (Hugh and Bunny Bodle, who came from Hawkes Bay to manage Reliance Tyres in Gisborne) bought in 1945. Their house still stands on the corner of Oneroa and Murphy (now owned by Kris and Rhonda Clapham).
Bev can remember stock from farms up the coast coming up from the beach and along Oneroa Road being driven into the freezing works in town, hence the origin of the name “Stock Route”. Next to the shop were empty paddocks and over the road was the Settler’s Hall and a sports ground where gymkhanas and sports days were held. Murphy Road was empty paddocks on the seaward side with Bill Chong’s market garden on the other. The Cook brothers, owned the farm on the hill, would daily walk their cows down Murphy Road to their milking bales where Cleary Road now is.
The Cook’s have a long connection to their acres which overlook the Oneroa Road settlement. There was originally a George Cook Senior who bought the land from William Cooper and later left the small farm to his bachelor sons Bill and George Junior in the 1930s, who ran the dairy herds on the property. The farm is still owned, albeit divided, by several descendants of another of George Cook senior’s sons.
In 1962 a family arrived at the beach from Wellington after answering a notice in the Dominion newspaper advertising the Wainui Store and Service Station for sale. The vendors, the Jollys, eager to impress, rolled the three children big icecreams and they were sent off to the beach while the big folks negotiated.
Peter Krzanich remembers he and his brother and sister stood in awe looking at the surf, their ice creams melting, as they first took in where their parents, Roy and Margaret, had brought them. Croatian-born Roy Krzanich was a self-made man, with an incredible work ethic, who became a legend at Wainui Beach with his “Roy’s Wainui Service Station”. He ran the pumps, did lubes, fixed punctures and did small mechanical repairs while wife Margaret ran the post office and the dairy in the shop next door. At first they lived behind the shop, then bought the big house overlooking the “Stock Route”. They ran the service station and the shop until the late ‘80s, then leased both businesses. It was a sad day when Roy witnessed the service station he was so proud of burn to the ground in 1987.
In 1994 an era ended when the Krzanichs sold the shop and the former service station site to the neighbouring Atsalis family of Pare Street and the “Stock Route” house to Danny Keighley, of failed Sweetwaters 1999 fame. Not many months later the older Krzanichs were planning to move to live with family in Australia, however Roy died an hour before boarding the plane.
FOOTNOTE: It’s hard to know where to stop this pocket history of the beach, with still many avenues yet to explore. It has taken six weeks to research and write and still it feels unfinished. However in this day and age when everything can be archived digitally and regularly updated, it’s rather a beginning than an ending. If this article has sparked memories of important events not covered herein (or, dread the concept, inaccuracies that need correcting) the writer urges readers to email or write in with further information that can be reported on in forthcoming issues and added to the digital archive. We look forward to and welcome the receipt of more historic photos and memoirs that can be published in ongoing issues.