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Kirk Family Bach

Bruce Kirk remembers holidaying as a child in Omokoroa. Why Omokoroa? That's where his parents chose for holidays along with lots of other Te Awamutu families.

His parents set up camp with the Hiskins, Garlands and Halls (all from Te Awamutu) where the Boat Slip now is Bruce's father then helped Keith Hiskins build his home after the Hiskins purchased the end section what is now No. 32 Harbour View Road.

The Kirks bought the section at 27 Harbour View Road and built what Mrs Kirk called ‘Eeyore's’ House in the 1950s. Why ‘Eeyore's’ house? Because Eeyore never got anything straight! And Bruce found this was true when he started some alterations some years later, he had to use an axe and chisel to straighten timbers! The family stayed in the old Gellibrand/Crapp homestead on the Point while building - Bruce remembers his father and Dr Hiskins having sword fights in the hall with the swords which were hung above the entrance to the lounge! Bruce remembers the coal range and the baker's oven beside it.

Kirk Bach, 27 Harbour View Road, 1969

Bruce's mother loved painting and the rocks along the front garden were all painted in different colours.

Homes had long drop toilets. Rain water was collected in water tanks. (We later put down a bore and could fill the water tank that way.) We had party line telephones.

Before fridges, people had a safe hanging in a tree with a gauze surround to keep the flies off meat, etc. Then we got a small Astral fridge.

In the 1950s Omokoroa was accessed from Tauranga to Barrett's Store, Whakamarama, then along No 1 Road and across what are now paddocks through Anderson Lane to Beach Grove. and along the Esplanade. There were sometimes slips on that slope which is now covered with nasturtiums. The roads were just tracks.

The surrounding land was first farmed then the very lucrative grapefruit and other citrus crops went in to be replaced later by Chinese gooseberry (kiwifruit). Later avocados were introduced.

Myrtle and Gerald Crapp built the first store, where Beach Store currently is. Before that we collected milk in our billies from the old homestead and probably got eggs from there too.

Other facilities, there was a hall with a piano where we had dances and that was the gathering place for the community. (The original boat club )

Local courier, Trevor Penney, would deliver whatever people ordered so it would be on their section when they came over to continue building in the weekends.

Bruce remembers the yachting regattas, with the Dick Coulston Trophy and the Hiskins Trophy. Keith Hiskins owned an X class yacht 'Diana' and a Frostply. He had a 2 cylinder Norman on a small clinker-built. Bruce remembers small groups of boats just drifting round the harbour at night with lanterns hanging from the side, collecting piper by hanging a kerosene tin over the side. And the fishing - it was common to catch 40 in an hour! Even if a line became tangled it could still catch fish. Drag netting along the beach front kept fishermen with their supply of herring for bait. People used to tie their boats to the trees along the beach front when high tides came up over the swamp (what is now the Domain).

Bruce married Suzanne in 1963. He first worked as a motor mechanic in Tauranga, shifting to live in town for a couple of years, where he set up Bruce Kirk Motors in 1968. Then it was back to Omokoroa. Brian started at Omokoroa Point School in 1969 when the sole charge teacher was Mr Drake, with a roll of 23. (Brian now runs the Omokoroa Automotive).

In 1982 Bruce and Suzanne sold no 27 and bought Hall's bach, no 26. They built their new home behind it, had the bach removed, then they built their garage where the bach had stood. Sixty years, with most of those years the family lived on Harbour View Road, Omokoroa.

First published in Omokoroa Omelette, March 2013