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Home arrow Articles by Topic arrow Environmental Planning arrow Shifting sands
Shifting sands PDF Print
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Articles - Environmental Planning
Written by Raewyn Peart, Sunday Star Times   
Sunday, 16 August 2009

Photo: Michael Bradley
Castles in the Sand author Raewyn Peart in Auckland.

OPINION: Some of my earliest childhood memories are of time spent at our family bach. A few years before I was born, my father bought a rough, sloping coastal section on the south-eastern fringe of Auckland. It had few services, but glorious views of the Hauraki Gulf. During weekends and holidays he gradually built the simple fibrolite-clad structure which was to become a cherished part of our family history.

Accommodation in the bach was spartan. The kids were crammed into creaky bunks in one small bedroom while my parents tried to sleep on a saggy mattress next door. Rusty coloured water trickled from the small corrugated iron tank which drained the roof. The sanitary arrangements consisted of a smelly "long drop" dug out back, a place that filled me with dread after dark.

There were many magical moments at the bach. I can remember getting up at dawn and rowing out over the tranquil sea to catch fresh snapper for breakfast. I can remember feasting on the rich-red summer plums which dripped from trees sprouting through the cracked clay soil. And I can remember hours spent lazily on the beach, exposing salty skin to the warm summer sun, blissfully unaware of the dangers of skin cancer.

Such changes ... were also in prospect to enable the development of the very fragile Ngunguru Spit.

Then the arrival of boys prompted a change to our summer holiday plans. My three older sisters had reached their teenage years and were attracting what my father considered to be "undesirable types". Rather than spend the summer worrying that his daughters were being led astray, he decided to take up boating. A family holiday at sea had one key advantage in his view: if my sisters attracted undesirable attention, the anchor could simply be raised and the family relocated to a more isolated spot.

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 16 August 2009 )
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