‘With­out these re­pairs, it’d be the end of the cove’ says fish­er­man


With ma­jor re­pairs to a se­verely dam­aged wharf com­pleted, Sam Hod­dinott has helped en­sure a fu­ture for Spir­ity Cove’s fish­ing com­mu­nity.

Lo­cated past a long stretch of dirt road be­tween River of Ponds and Hawke’s Bay, the ex­ten­sive wharf in Spir­ity Cove ser­vices eight boats and about 16 fish­er­men.

The cove has a his­tory of strug­gling with strong north­east wind and north­ern ice. A par­tic­u­larly rough storm with harsh wind and ham­mer­ing beach rock knocked an en­tire wall of the wharf down into the sea.

Now into their tenth week of a Job Cre­ation Part­ner­ship (JCP) pro­gram with the De­part­ment of Ad­vanced Ed­u­ca­tion, Skills and Labour, har­vesters and nearby res­i­dents have re­paired the wall with dou­blestacked logs and bolted braces.

The wharf is now in its best and strong­est state to deal with any fu­ture storms.

“If not for these re­pairs, with the first gust of north­east wind, this wharf would’ve been gone,” said Hod­dinott.

Robert Di­a­mond, a Spir­ity Cove har­vester and vice-chair of the Spir­ity Cove Fish­er­men’s Com­mit­tee, says it’s been won­der­ful to see the project go ahead with such suc­cess.

“The wharf was in re­ally rough shape,” Di­a­mond said. “With­out these re­pairs, it’d be the end of the cove.”

Hod­dinott, as chair of the com­mit­tee, spear­headed the project with help from Chatal Doyle, ca­reer de­vel­op­ment spe­cial­ist with the de­part­ment, and Jeanann Big­gin, the de­part­ment’s client ser­vice man­ager for the North­ern Penin­sula.

Hod­dinott is par­tic­u­larly grate­ful for their in­put and help in get­ting this re­pair work into ac­tion.

“Chatal and Jeanann and they work they’ve done has been price­less,” he said. “We wouldn’t be able to do it with­out their ad­vice and guid­ance.”

The wharf was also dam­aged by loss of beach rock un­der­neath it, due to sway­ing cur­rents. As part of the re­pair, the com­mit­tee mem­bers and JCP work­ers brought in bar­rels of new beach rock to drop un­der­neath the boards.

“This beach is what we call a live beach,” said Di­a­mond. “When you have storms, the rock is al­ways mov­ing. The rock gets sucked out of the bot­tom of the wharf, and it chops into the side of the wharf, but we’ve given it some ex­tra pro­tec­tion now.”

Another ma­jor facet of the JCP project is do­ing clean up around the Spir­ity Cove area. Plenty of old cod and lob­ster traps, her­ring nets, and even some of the old in­fra­struc­ture like out-of-use cab­ins have been taken down and burnt.

As well, re­pairs and paint­work were com­pleted on all har­vesters’ stores along the coast. When the weather was too rough to go at the wharf re­pair, the work­ers would fo­cus on these ar­eas.

While the JCP project helped se­cure funds for ex­ca­va­tion and tim­ber, Hod­dinott says the group has cut down on costs by ap­ply­ing their skills and lend­ing their own gear, as well as equip­ment pro­vided by area har­vesters.

“We need our own equip­ment to re­ally make it work, and they’re all ex­pe­ri­enced peo­ple with wood and power saws,” said Hod­dinott. “The com­mu­nity re­ally came to­gether to work on the project.”

Doyle vis­ited the area and was pleased with the suc­cess­ful and pro­duc­tive work be­ing done in Spir­ity Cove. She says it couldn’t have come to­gether with­out peo­ple like Hod­dinott tak­ing the lead.

The small com­mu­nity of cab­ins, stores and long liner boats has be­come a year round home for Hod­dinott. While he spent much of his life liv­ing in Hawke’s Bay, Hod­dinott mar­ried in the area when he was 19, and his wife bore three chil­dren there. He says it was a very pros­per­ous com­mu­nity at one time, with a sawmill in the nearby woods.

Now see­ing all the clean­li­ness and re­pair work un­fold­ing in Spir­ity Cove, Hod­dinott is thank­ful to know the har­vesters will be able to keep both the wharf and the cove in high use.

“Ev­ery­one who comes here see­ing it cleaned up is very proud,” he said. “It’s the proud­est job I’ve ever been a part of.”


For the past 10 weeks these work­ers in Spir­ity Cove have re­paired the cove’s wharf, re­painted the stores, re-shin­gled, and done plenty of clean-up. The JCP project ends Dec.1.


Sam Hod­dinott stands next to the wharf wall that had col­lapsed due to rough, stormy north­east winds. The wharf wall has been re­paired with dou­ble-stacked logs and bolted braces.


Todd House works from Spir­ity Cove’s wharf with his fa­ther. Now that the cod sea­son has come to an end for their en­ter­prise, he is ty­ing up their gear. Fish­er­men in Spir­ity Cove are pleased to see the re­pairs to the wharf and their stores re­painted and...


Sam Hod­dinott watches over his fish dry­ing in a warm, late Oc­to­ber sun.

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