Growing up in Tauranga - by Lorraine McCully
Tauranga – the heart of the Bay of Plenty and what a wonderful place to grow up in. I was born in Tauranga, educated at Tauranga Primary School, then Tauranga Intermediate and later at Tauranga Girls College, and what a great start in life that was.
I'm now living in Brisbane, Australia; but my roots are in Tauranga and I visit and reconnect with special friends as much as I can.
Born in 1948 and living at Greerton my memories are a-plenty. Let me share some of them with you.
Firstly, the street names have changed. The Avenues always existed up to 11th Avenue, but after that the streets had names. Later these became Avenues right up to 23rd Avenue – that made for a whole lot less geographically challenging situations. Let’s face it, we didn't have GPS in those days!
I was a very lucky girl: after helping in the garden I was allowed to go to the movies on occasional Saturday afternoons. 1/3d was the amount of money given to me for this privilege, but hey! I could get in for 9d providing I sat in the front stalls, then at half time I could race down The Strand to Adams Bruce and have a 3d ice cream, strawberry, chocolate or vanilla ice cream in a double cone and race back, and choose a seat where I didn't have to look at the ceiling to see the screen.
I fished with a hand line or string wrapped around a soft drink bottle on what is now The Strand reclamation, and herrings could be caught in profusion. Pipis could be used for bait and there were heaps of these at Papamoa and one soon learnt how to dig for them. The big ones were saved, though, for that sandy treat known as pipi fritters. Why didn't pipis know how to emit all that sand when placed in a bucket of cold water? Perhaps this art of digging pipis is where the dance 'the twist' got its name from.
Getting to Papamoa or indeed the Mount was another challenge, though. The road went via Welcome Bay; it had lots of corners, and when I was a kid, it seemed to take ages. The saving grace was always the stop off for a cone ice cream on the way home at a store in Welcome Bay. In those days we would never have asked, “How long till we get there?” as the question would have earned a stern reply. At the Mount it was neat – you could park your car on the sand dunes and out would come the picnic blanket. There weren't allocated bitumen parking bays in those days.
On special occasions we camped at the Mount. Square tents were the order of the day and neighbours in the camping ground were welcomed once the 'flap' in front of the tent had been reverently rolled up and unravelled each morning. One would always hope that it was fine weather because packing up large, square wet canvas tents was never a pleasurable experience. Some things in life don't change! Nor in fact does the track around the Mount change – I can't say the same for the climb up the Mount. I know there's now a track there, but getting to the top has changed – now I puff a bit more.
When I was a kid we didn't play video games or spend hours watching TV. Let’s face it, we didn't have a TV set. Instead we built trolleys and raced them down the street. We netted flounder. We went blackberrying and wine-berrying. We walked along the wharves at the Mount and talked to the visiting sailors. We didn't lock our homes. We ate feijoas till they came out our ears. We caught the ferry to the Mount.
DC3s adorned the skies. Our car was a Singer, later a new Hillman Minx. Milk was home-delivered and came with white, blue and gold lids. At school we had school milk and good behaviour was rewarded by the privilege of being a milk monitor. We loved the A & P show, which was held annually – I regularly exhibited home-grown vegetables for this event. In later years we went to strawberry gardens and picked strawberries in profusion. However, it was frowned upon if you arrived with your punnet of ice cream prior to picking fruit. Somehow it wasn't the done thing!
On special occasions we got to go to Rotorua to see the boiling mud pools and see Pohutu play or soak in the hot pools in Kuirau Reserve. The road was tar-sealed, and that, too, took an age to get there, but again one would never dare to question how long the journey was likely to take….
Shopping with mother was always an awesome experience – no escalators, no shopping malls, but always the fascination of the central cash station and overhead pulley system in place at Charles Hartley's on The Strand. Everyone remembers this – it was another part of Tauranga's history.
I love Tauranga and The Mount and I always will. I have great friends there, lifelong friends, and my precious childhood memories: all these making me the person I am today.
Thanks, Bay of Plenty, for the neat start in life. I owe you heaps and I count it a privilege to share the charm of this area of New Zealand with people at every opportunity. It's not called the Bay of Plenty for nothing!