Tuesday, February 25, 2014


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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

That bach ....

Recently there has been some discussion on the merits (or otherwise) of preserving an old bach on foreshore reserve at Tapu Bay. I have removed the names of the writers, but here are the emails from property owners:-

******** has just updated me on the status of their family bach. He is 80 years old last week, so I'm sure he could do with some help to get his historic bach preserved.

He has been phoning me for some months, but he has been unable to pursue this effectively.

 Th current council plan he says is for it to be demolished by March 2014. I know many residents will be very sorry to see it demolished. I feel it should be preserved as a bit of Kiwi History.

John would like to gift it to the Historic Buildings Trust, or if that fails to the Tapu Bay Group?

It could be made into an open door museum. With photos of old local views and memorobilia of events from around the bay.

I'm hoping someone has time to help him get things underway. If we do nothing it will vanish.

To demolish the old Tapu Bay Bach would be to erase an important part of our local heritage
 We don't want new structures on the coastal reserve, but clinging to the edge of the foreshore this bach tells an important part of the story of recreation at the beach. The first baches were built with the farmers consent, but without selling the land. Over enthusiasm for the best spots meant some were built too close to the water, on land the farmer didn't own.
 This bach needs to be preserved because with its neighbour demolished and the other 2 from the Dummy Bay - Stephens Bay headland gone its the only part of this history left.
 We part own one of the few other original baches, one that also has never been upgraded, but ours is not on the foreshore.
 Back in the 1990's our architecture firm helped encourage Wellington City Council to adopt a policy that kept a similar cluster of 1930's baches on Wellington's rugged Southcoast - refer page 14, 15 & 16 of the attached WCC policy PDF (=pg numbers 48, 49 , 50)  I'm sure WCC heritage officers would be happy to advise TDC as to how to allow this.
 From my experience with how this works in practice (& you can read it in the Southcoast Management Plan attached) management and conservation is handled by eventually public ownership, possibly with a gifted lease to a club, which here could be the Stephens Bay  - Tapu Bay Group. Key to it has been available for "public use" which includes staying in them. The Wellington ones were listed as Historic in the WCC District Plan and with the Historic Places Trust.
Sorry all but I don't get it, it's a corrugated iron shack built illegally on a reserve. It has merit as an historic building.If its left in place there will obviously be a cost to maintain and I just bet that ratepayers will fund that and also if its left leads to precedents for others. My vote Bowl it over and put a picnic table in its place
 I am in agreement with **** , it will only cost ratepayers more money to look after it. 
Turn it into an area that we can all use to enjoy the beach front,( NOTE as the council has seen fit to plant the only flat grass area at that end of the beach) 
Would be nice if the family could clean up the area. The large pile of gorse they cut down and have left.
No, funnily enough it will cost money to turn this into real world public toilets, although the previous residents just used the beach, and again we
the residents will be expected to pay for this by way of yet another targeted rate no doubt
If the shack is that important to some then I am sure the present owners
will be only to happy to sell it to you and you then can arrange to shift
it to another suitable site at your own cost and invite Dame Kiri in for
an artist in residence stint
Bowl the damn thing and put a picnic table and bar b que in there which
seems to be the preferred option of most of the respondents so far and
rather than being the preserve of bludgers who never paid their share of
any rates burden will then be able to be used by all which is the intent
of reserve spaces
Interesting debate on the Bach. Yes it is just a shack, but that's New Zealands coastal history

I think *****  has some interesting points and suggestions.

An idea of mine is the following:- 

In order to save money on rates and maintanence the bach could be turned into the public toilets we require. This could be done at little extra cost. They are only 20metres or so from the pumping station.

If security is an issue it could be locked at night and someone local could have a key to open it, as the gate at Kaka Point is at Kaiteriteri.

Good on you ****  spot on.
As to the leaving of a tin shack in a reserve to prove the point that you
cannot now build tin shacks in reserves.......words escape me
Good to see a healthy community debate

Cost & Clean-up
Key to the Wellington model (that I attached to my earlier email) is that it formalises what the encroaching bach owners pay to the Council.
 They are required to maintain their buildings and to contribute to the nearby (Red Rocks) reserve maintenance. Their leasehold existence incurs an encroachment licence / lease fee annually and there has to be an availability for public use / hire. 
 The bach building can't be changed and it can't be sold on and profited from. If they or their family don't contribute, or keep up maintenance the deal's off, and that's where gifting it to a public club / group comes in. 
 Ratifying a lease would mean it would be very simple for TDC as landlord to require the gorse be shifted. As part of establishing a lease a koha to our community could even be that the Crammers fund a picnic table, or 2, for the reserve.
 Public use might mean the Bach sometimes host a Tapu Bay artist in residence who contributed to our local creativity and the tourist economy......
Historical Merit:
You are right it is a shack, and not necessarily a beautiful one.  But you will find plenty of historians and architects who disagree with you on the historical merit of simple Kiwi self built baches and cribs. They are often quirky, and usually small. Their over span use of slender native timbers and cheap found materials at low stud heights can't be repeated. Just as this one's location can't be.
 The key point about historical structures is they may not be grand but they are our history - their existence tells a story and once they are gone they are lost. Local stories are important in local places.
 Wellington's Red Rocks enclave preserved all the coastal reserve Baches, as did Taylor's Mistake in Christchurch, at Rangitoto Island they only realised once they'd begun demolishing baches that they were loosing a never to be repeated slice of Kiwiana and stepped in and preserved them.
This is our last foreshore one. 
Public Foreshore:
Even the mistake of building this humble little bach in the Queen's chain is actually important to preserve. It's the opposite of a precedent - with all of the others removed it serves as the lone reminder of how lucky we are that our country values and protects public beach front, regardless of what the landowner allowed when they first set about making money from their farmland.
 Land title and competent Local Authority enforcement mean this can not be repeated.
Interestingly the anomaly of this bach's location has lead me to have numerous discussions with foreign visitors as to how Kiwi beach fronts can't be privately owned. As we have witnessed recently the issue of new locals who think they own their adjoining coastal reserve is important to make a stand against. This little reminder is low key, and has been part of our landscape since before most of us came to Stephens Bay. With good display signage this offender could actually help educate people to look after our Stephens Bay - Tapu Bay coastal reserve.
I'm proud of the way NZ protects our foreshore for us all, I'm also proud of the way we sometimes look after our heritage for our grand children to see and talk about what used to be.
I think its great that our community is talking over local issues in this forum.
And I reckon a picnic table on the flat site of the recently demolished other foreshore bach (behind the knoll) would be great. 
That all sounds ready great, but for the past 23 years I have lived here, the family has not looked after their tin shed in any way. Even when the son and his family(two young boys) moved in and stayed for over a year (about 5 years ago) with no running water, power, or toilet and were ask to leave by the council a number of times, also they replaced the fireplace and chimney when it caught fire. It was a mess then and has remained one. Only recently it was painted a wonderful Sky Blue, laughing in the face of council who have stop home owners from painting their new homes the colour of their choose. 
I can not see they family helping or paying anything to the TDC for the upkeep of this TIN SHED.

The TDC will not even put a toilet at the Bay, so to have it turned into a holiday home for artist is a joke.
How about we put our effects into getting the road fixed, as I have heard through the grade vine that more Maori ovens were found on the land at Turners where the road is to go. 
PS. somewhere in my family tree I am related to the Krammers and the Drummonds who have the other bash, so don't send me a bill for any upkeep, I already pay enough rates for nothing.   
Interesting views!  I have mixed feelings about this bach-shack.  I’ve watched and listened to several submissions to TDC and DoC from similar bach owners on the Abel Tasman National Park foreshore and recently watched the latest (Gilberts bach at Tinline) being demolished before we planted trees all over that site, as part of our Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust programme.

Similar experience of preservation attempts for old tramping and hunting huts in the region tend to bring a group of enthusiastic folk together to raise funds and do a wonderful restoration job initially, but once completed and handed over for public use, no one does a jot of cleaning or maintenance.  Families might have the odd picnic lunch on a rainy day but in nice weather it’s better outdoors.  In winter it’s cold and miserable and I can’t see it being used at all.  Local yokels may break in to have a beer party or two but the resulting stacks of empty bottles and condoms would be someone else’s responsibility.  Community clean-ups attract diminishing numbers of volunteers until the hut is eventually demolished as a health or fire risk. 

Without TDC funding long-term (i.e. we ratepayers) or a Trust with both human and financial resources, this could quickly go the same way.  DoC definitely has no spare money to throw at it and I’m sure the Historic Places Trust wouldn’t look at it.   Without thousands spent on it, who would really use such a place in Tapu Bay anyway?

Nor am I for a toilet block placed there – loos are best placed further back in the bushes – not on a prime picnic site like this magic little area!  I tend to be with those who say bowl it and put a picnic table there....

I have not joined this debate - in the 1970s my father, a Stephens Bay resident and a Waimea County councillor said that a condition placed upon the developers of the area was the removal of the two illegal buildings. One of the buildings has been removed in the last 12 months but the other one remains. The developers have fully developed the area from Tapu Bay to Little Kaiteriteri.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


A lot of trees have been cut down at the end of Anarewa Crescent by the person who has built a house (hardly a bach) on the old BB Jones property. As well as mature black beech trees there were many other trees both on his property and on the foreshore reserve blocking his view from the disgusting looking house that were cut down. 
The view of the land from the sea is in no way improved. I would rather see trees on the headland (even if they are scrub) than a house on fairly bare land as I noticed on rowing past the headland. 
Have a look at the Nelson Mail article on the action; also the comments made by various people.
If he has maori inheritance, does he come from a local iwi? Anyway, such desecration of the environment is hardly condoned by the Treaty of Waitangi.
Click on the above link in the first line of the paragraph, or here 
Apparently the owner of the property has also built his swimming pool on reserve land. It will be rather embarrassing to remove it.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Stephens Island Lighthouse

I found and old newspaper clipping about the commissioning if the Stephens Island Lighthouse. Here it is for you to read.


There have been just completed and fitted up at the Milton Works of Messrs James Milne and Son (Limited), Edinburgh, the optical apparatus and machinery for the latest addition to
the scheme of lighthouses which some years ago the Messrs Stevenson, civil engineers, matured for lighting the coast lines of New Zealand. Already, in accordance with the Messrs Stevenson's scheme, no fewer than 27 lighthouses have been erected on salient points of the coast line (which extends to about 3000 miles), and all of them are equipped with optical apparatus in which the latest improvements are embodied. Paraffin has also been adopted at the source of light in the lamps, resulting not only in diminished expense , but in increased power of lights. The apparatus, which has just been completed, is for a lighthouse as Stephens Island, which lies off the North end of the Middle Island, in Cooks Strait, and rises to a height of 950 ft. The lowest site that could be found for the light is about 570 ft above the level of the sea, and if the height of the tower be added, the centre of the light will be about 600 feet above sea level – an elevation which is exceeded by only one lighthouse in Great Britain, Barra Head – which will give a range of 32½ nautical miles for the light. The apparatus is novel in design, and forms a four sided cage of glass, fitted in gunmetal framing, about 8½ feet in height and 6 feet in diameter. Each of the four faces of the instrument is built of two central lenses or discs surrounded by light prismatic rings, with four reflecting prisms below and a crown of thirteen holophotal prisms above. In the focus of the apparatus is a lamp having a burner with five concentric wicks, the flame being 4½ inches in diameter, and possessing a power equal to 515 standard candles. The whole apparatus is made to revolve on a carriage working on steel rollers, which circulate between two rings of steel, the motion being given by clockwork actuated by a falling weight. The machine has a maintaining power which keeps the apparatus going at the required speed even when the weight is being wound up, and provision is also made for working the machine by hand if any accident happens to the winding gear. The apparatus is so arranged that as each face comes into view the observer sees two flashes of intensely white light following each other in rapid succession every half-minute. The lantern in which this apparatus is to be placed is now on the way to New Zealand. It is 12ft in diameter and 9ft in height; The astragals are of gunmetal, and arranged in a series of triangles, thus securing a sruucture of great rigidity and strength; the dome is double, of copper plates riveted together. the triangular panes being of the best mirror plate glass, a quarter of an inch in thickness; and are called “storm panes” are provided, and kept in readiness to be applied in the event of a pane being broken either by birds driving up against the lantern or by stones thrown up from the cliff on which the lighthouse is placed. The lantern was made by Messrs Dove, Greenside Lane, Edinburgh; the optical apparatus by Messrs Barbier, Paris; and the revolving carriage, machine, and lamps by Messrs James Milne and Son. - the whole being
constructed to the designs and under the direction of Messrs Stevenson.
Scotsman, November 22, 1892

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Visit our Holiday Home

You can visit our holiday home, or enquire about staying there by following the link to the Holiday Home

Friday, December 11, 2009

More Riwaka Memoirs

Click in the link

Stephens Bay 100 years ago - from Riwaka Memoirs by WAA Ryder

“Have you noticed the time for high water on New Year’s Day?”
That seems a strange question from one busy housewife to another, on a bright sunny afternoon early in September. But then you must remember that New Year’s Day was the day for the Riwaka Community picnic at ‘Tapu’ and to get there meant the crossing of 1 ½ miles of sandy beaches and mudflats, which are covered at high tide. There were no telephones to utilise for the necessary arrangements, so it was essential to make an early start, or it might so happen that there would be four or five hams and no turkeys, with the possibility that some may not care for turkey. Then too there were not motor cars or motor boats. Cars would have been useless as there were three or four tidal creeks and several muddy or soft spots. The general method of transport was by a spring cart, with a staunch half draught horse, one used to the water if possible. Perhaps the choice of the seaside as the site of the community picnic was because it passed the small beach where the first settlers landed so they proceeded to a beach further on, which had more scope, but still accessible by horse transport. Everyone would ride until the mudflats were reached, when all the children would discard their shoes, and paddle across the creeks and sandy stretches, and so lighten the load in the cart, as it was heavy going in many places. One tricky part was over the rocks at Wood Point. This would have been impossible in its natural state, so some of the settlers had blasted a channel through the soft granite rocks, just wide enough for wheel traffic. The ruts worn in this soft granite seemed to accumulate black mud, so if you were late to negotiate this part with the tide rising, the traffic would stir up the mud, and discolour the water, making it difficult to locate the track.

As parts of the rock alongside the track were two feet high, it could well mean disaster. This was the chief reason for taking particular note of the tides. With a tide range of twelve feet, there were other portions where water could be too deep, and any running late on the tide, would have to wait two or three hours for the tide to recede. 

The picnic area was about two and a half acres of a rather sandy flat on the southern side of a long spur, which juts out to sea between Tapu and Steven’s Bay, ending in a rocky promontory with an isolated patch of rock off the end of it known locally as Big Rock. This spur is only about 100 yards wide, fairly flat on top, but with cliff faces 50 to 60 feet down to the sea level on each side. It had been used as a Maori pah or fort, as there were two deep trenches across the spur, about 100 yards apart, the ends of each trench extending from some inaccessible part of the cliff.

On arrival at the picnic site, the elder boys would be sent to collect driftwood, while the men prepared fireplaces and spread two or three white duck rick covers, on which the long linen table cloths would be placed. After the initial preparations were completed, the boy would proceed to the end of the sandspit for a swim. Bathing togs in those days would be of the neck to knee type, but were conspicuous by their absence. The few girls who fancied a dip in the briny, generally favoured a secluded nook at the far end of the beach, beyond the Archway Rock, where a sentinel would be posted to ensure privacy. Some adults would organise games for the smaller children, such as baseball, rounders, teazel, drop handkerchief, and the like. I have mentioned no motor boats, but there were usually two or three small sailing boats, and the same number of dinghys. These were always popular with the children, and the owners were kept quite busy.

A shout would announce when the big kettles were boiling, and all would hasten to the dining site. The linen cloths had been spread, and each family brought along their contribution. When all were seated either the village parson or some other head of family would briefly offer thanks for the food. Each person brought their own cup, plates and cutlery and sometimes large boilers of new potatoes and green peas were cooked. Another item on the menu was plum pudding and the children soon discovered which ones had been favoured with a generous addition of three penny and six penny pieces.

After any remnants of the food had been safely stowed away, the men would perhaps have a game of cricket, married versus single. The pitch was rather sandy with poor turf so no big scores were recorded. A few keen fishermen would take off to try their luck fishing off the reefs, while others would make for the cockle or pipi beds. These succulent shell fish one of the chief foods of the old time Maori, were usually cooked on return home, as the shells strewn along some driveway, where wheel traffic and the trampling of horses could crush them, provide useful grit for the poultry.

The adolescents would perhaps wander in groups over the low hills toward Kaiteriteri but with the march of time, gorse has been allowed to take charge, and the young people of today are denied the pleasure of the lovely vistas which were available from many vantage points.

On the sandspit I have mentioned, there was a rather rare type of grass growing, spiny rolling grass (Spinifex hirsutis). The seed heads of this grass resemble a ball about 8 or 10 inches in diameter, with long spines protruding from the seeds. When the tide was out, and the wind favourable, these seed heads would blow along the beach faster than any children would run, and the children would have competitions as to which seed head would reach a certain point first.

It is a pity that this old time favourite picnic spot with its sandy flats have been completely eroded by the sea. But perhaps providence ordained it, so that we should be compelled to share our blessings as we were forced to construct good motor roads to Stevens Bay and
Kaiteriteri. These bays have become so popular with visitors from all over New Zealand, that we are again compelled to raise our sights, and the eventual goal must be the formation of a good road near the coast, which will give access to the many bays of equal beauty, which extend right to Totaranui and thence to Takaka. Much of this road would pass through Tasman Park and together with the existing tracks and the genial climate of this area, would open up a veritable paradise for trampers, fishermen, and the general public of New Zealand, who are such ardent lovers of the open spaces and the unspoilt beauty of our country.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Hi visitors.
Here I will write random thoughts about Stephens Bay (and other things)