Saturday, 15 August 2020

The Legacy of Ethel Rose - a grandmother

Looking from Shore area  ( Te Pingao ) to Maukaha Rocks and Whenuakura at Whangamata
 - photo courtesy  Chris Ball 2017

Certainly a year of unprecedented events here in New Zealand. It was back on Wednesday ( 12th August 2020) to Level 3 for Auckland and Level 2 the rest of New Zealand because of another wave of Covid 19 cases. For us on the Coromandel's Eastern Seaboard, it was postponed club and organisation activities, social distancing of 2 metres, telephoning family and friends, sanitising and hand washing again. Back to reading, writing and sharing with family and friends - those memories of people, time and place. 

My friend Rose Marie made email contact with a story she wished to share. Rose Marie wrote a tale for "True Tales of Coromandel's Eastern Seaboard" back in 2015. That book was one of the first true tales books published by The Coromandel Heritage Trust. which is a place in Thames, New Zealand. In what was once a Carnegie Library - now an archive of records and photos  of Coromandel people and places. 

Typical of many of us, sorting through treasured family photos and papers, Rose Marie thought back with fond memories of her mother - that part of the past New Zealand history that is also family history. As with many of us in New Zealand, our forebears have come from other places and other countries - where COVID 19 has been an extremely virulent pandemic.

The Legacy of Ethel Rose - a grandmother         by Rose Marie

In 2015 I wrote about my xmas wish that magically happened to me in January 2003  "The Xmas Bach". Prior to my wish coming true, My hubby and our boys lived in an old bus with blown out windows boarded up with plywood and a garage housing my husband's favourite girl "Bonnie" an old trustworthy Bonito Boat. 

 When our first son Stephen was born my husband built a lovely little cabin for me that we could all go to sleep in without rain coming down on us (which
was happening to us in the old bus).  The cabin was small and compact which opened out to a lovely fern garden surrounded by Ponga Trees.  After so many years when our second son  James was born  the cabin was too small for a family of four.  

Rosemarie with Ethel at book launch 2015
Photo courtesy Chris Ball Dec 2015
As luck would have it, I came across a little 50's bach that had room for 2 to 3 bedrooms at minimal cost from Harbour View Road to where it is now.
My Xmas wish of 2002 was granted.

In 2015 Stephen and James's Grandma Ethel , a kiwi born woman with croatian parents aged 90 stayed with us in the xmas batch ushering in a new year 2016.

This was a different lifestyle for her and one she was proud of, for her two grandsons to experience a way of life she was not fortunate to have.

Ethel left a very strong message for her grandsons to never forget that the Bach has become  an iconic part of our history and culture which symbolises our beach holiday lifestyle and that of simple  pleasures which we all take for granted.

The Bach design was a rectangular shape that was open plan with a basic kitchen and small bedrooms at the back. where the family could relax and appreciate the view. Ethel approved of the small, compact and economic heritage batch, as in her day during the postwar era it was not the done thing to show off wealth.
As we all know these modest bachs are gradually disappearing from the beach landscape.  

Ethel wistfully said her Otto (husband) always wanted a boat as he was a very good swimmer but he never fulfilled that dream as he never took the time to just dream and make it come true.

Ethel rejoiced in the fact that her grandsons not only enjoyed the beach and all it had to offer, but that they were part of the community and went to school there.
She enjoyed watching them grow and play by the sea and went to their music concerts and birthdays as most grandparents do.  An experience she hopes her two grandsons will not take for granted and treasure the place with all its memories in years to come.

Tawa Tawa Hall near Opoutere School also a place of community, gatherings and concerts 
Photo courtesy Chris Ball November 2017

Covid 19  March 2020 Lockdown.

We now learned to grow vegetables on our land we haven' t  yet subdivided.
We learned to watch out over the neighbour's property if they weren't there.
We learned to acknowledge each other, smile and appreciate all the wonderful reserves and parks that have been handed down to generations to fully utilise.

But we must be kind to these reserves and parks so the next generation can appreciate what people like my mother Ethel was so proud off and fought for in their own way.

This is our heritage! Pristine unspoiled beaches, native forests and an unspoiled relaxed atmosphere where everyone can feel welcome and soak it all in.

Photo shot from Whangamata Peninsula looking across at Point Whangamata  and to cliffs at Otahu estuary river mouth - Te Kumete -   photo courtesy Chris Ball 2009

August 2020

The time is now for an end of the Winter get together to warm our hearts and bring us together to celebrate many milestones in this community we call Whangamata with mixed cultures that all have a common goal!

Goodwill, honesty and loyalty!  So we ensure the next generation will be there for the next crisis.

Roll on Summer 2020/2021


Yes -  those things that warm our heart - messages from whānau - goodwill, honesty and loyalty - given and passed down through generations by forebears - a part of the past of  NZ History binding the stories of place and people together.

Yes - many of us are reflecting and writing during COVID 19 lockdown as well as contacting by phone, whānau around the world and sharing our reflections and writings. Thank you Rose Marie.

Flower of Pohutukawa - Metrosideros excelsa - Pohutukawa said to
symbolise birth and rebirth - photo courtesy Chris Ball 2012

Reference Source