Growing up: Making Your Own Fun

The Port was filled with places to explore and have adventures in, and the kids growing up in Ahuriri considered themselves fortunate they had an abundance of ways to make their own fun.

Portities remember happy, carefree days strolling out on the old Westhore wooden bridge, or filling sugarbags with pipis and cockles. Crabs could be caught at low tide under the rocks. For the boys a popular weekend adventure might be buying a penny’s worth of fish-hooks at Krough’s, with chancing some crap meat for bait at Selby’s butchery. Then a few hanks of sewing twine from one of the woolstores, and a stone for a sinker, and he was set.

On hot summer days swimming in the pools along Hardinge Road created by Shanahan, Cattanach and Shaw was popular. The foreshore was very rocky and these men had cleared an area large enough for swimming in when the tide was up. Shanahans Pool was the biggest of the three pools, and the council built dressing sheds and also installed a gas point so people could boil up their kettles. The waterfront and the boats feature prominently, including taking rides on the harbour lighters. The ‘Fanny’ was known to have a sympathetic cook who might even produce something edible if you were lucky. For a period, a ferry also operated from West Quay and it was a popular outing with the family.

Social sports were held most Sunday afternoons at the Port Park, commonly known as the ‘South Pond’ It was cricket in the summer and rugby in the winter. ‘Port Rail’ was a well known club that fielded teams all year round.

During the school week, ‘understanding’ constables would help ‘round-up’ any of the kids for whom the Port’s many outdoor attractions outweighed that of the classroom.

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