The turn of the 21st century has been a period of radical change. The technological revolution may have not have given us flying cars, but we have smartphones, the internet, and a way of life that even H. G. Wells couldn't have predicted. I recently came across a number of historical photos of Mt Maunganui and its surrounds on the database of the National Library of New Zealand. The photos are testament to how much has really changed. I offer a number of them below with some perspective and comments.


 Wharf construction on the Port of Tauranga 1st of October 1954 by Whites Aviation. There has been a lot of talk lately by the local surfing community whether the harbour dredging for the super-tankers is effecting the coastline of Matakana Island. With trees falling into the water the effect to us is obvious. It is fascinating to see top left in this photo here how pronounced the bend in the start of the island used to be.


Date and photographer unknown, but in the context of the other photos I estimate pre 1930's. If I was to imagine how Mt Maunganui originally looked I would offer an idyllic pohutukawa covered landscape. Here we see in reality a rather harsh looking frontier of scrub and gorse. 

Main Beach, Mt Maunganui circa 1950. Fashions come and go but beauty is timeless. A sunny Mount day spent at the beach with friends is one of the best ways to pass time in the Mount. 

Mount Maunganui Campground and the Oceanside Hotel, circa 1930's. No apartment towers, no leaky buildings, but also a rather bare looking Mount Dury.

Main Beach carpark from Mt Dury, 1961. It looks busier fifty years ago than it does today. If only we were still allowed to park on the curb and there were no ticket wardens. 

Leisure Island and the Mount Sound Shell, 1966. A far cry from the patch of dirt that is their now. But it is much better the animals are back where they should be. 




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Hi Big Sun




Leisure Island was in the 80’s, after the closure of Marineland. Marineland also had a chimpanzee in the late 60’s as we have a family photo of me hiding behind my father in apparent terror of it.

Grant amos

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