A LOOK BACK: MOUNT MAUNGANUI


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 struck me deeply of how much has really changed. I offer a number of them below with my own perspective and comments. It would be great if anyone would like to offer their own. 

 

 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. Whether it was always like this or the colonials cleared the land for wood and farmland the current environmental mentality of 'leave it as it lays' never sat well with me and I believe cannot be offered as regulation for environmental conservation. For our national parks and world heritage sites this is fine, but for many other of our cherished locations, it is my opinion the solution lies in development. For most of the environmentally inclined this statement will bring shudders, but I challenge you to loose the old preconceptions that people will develop things only to make money (cue the palm rubbing businessman with his block of well priced leaky apartments) and try to imagine a new generation with a more conscientious approach. 

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 to me 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 we're all happy the animals are back where they should be. 

 

 

 


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