Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Thames (NZ): Thames Coast Camps

It may seem strange to younger readers today, that the people of Thames would often travel to Te Puru or or Waiomu for their holidays. To get even that far was an adventure! Maybe the entrepid holidaymakers went by bus, or service car (taxi); few would have been lucky enough to have their own car.
Many would have then camped on the open reserve areas, yet undeveloped with the housing as we know it today. An account from 1945 reads: There are more holiday-makers at Thames coast resorts than for several previous years. Roads to the beaches have seen an almost continuous procession of campers over the last few days. The most popular of the areas near Thames is Lower Puru, and Waiomo has greatly increased in popularity. Sites at these places are well occupied. Tapu and Thornton's Bay also have a good number of holidaymakers, who to date have had ideal summer weather, although until today the sea has been rough. Added numbers are at Waiomo this year because of the opening of the summer camp of the Y.M.C.A., Hamilton, which will last for six weeks accommodating 150 boys in each of three periods of a fortnight. (Auckland Star 28th December 1944) The war was drawing to a close, but rationing would still have been in place.
Above: Waiomo Reserve, where many would camp along the foreshore area
Below: Later photo of The Boomerang Motor Camp at Te Puru - an area that has been ravaged by floods over the years, which has led to large-scale redevelopment of the river area (to right of photo)
 For details on the Te Puru flood protection work, visit the TCDC site. (Click here)
While staying down the coast, fishing played a big part in feeding the hungry holiday-makers and bringing hours of pleasure. Fish was plentiful and boat loads of snapper were a common occurrence - even the larger shark was bought ashore for display.
Source: Auckland Weekly News 17 January 1924 p041
 Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19240117-41-4