A fond look at Ti­tahi Bay, then and now

Kapi-Mana News - - OUT & ABOUT - KRIS DANDO

Ti­tahi Bay has passed its boom and is quiet again.

The sea­side sub­urb, which to­day has a pop­u­la­tion of just over 7500, boomed in the 1950s and 1960s, as peo­ple flooded in.

Our Flash­back photo this week, from the ar­chive of John Wat­son, shows a Ti­tahi Bay with plenty of space be­tween sec­tions and open park­land.

It is be­lieved the shot was taken in the mid-1950s and land­marks in­clude the Marine’s Hall and Kura St.

A com­par­a­tive shot to­day, take from high above The Spin­ney, off Chaf­fey Cres, is in stark con­trast, with the only spare space be­ing parks, as hous­ing has in­ten­si­fied.

Ar­min Blum told Kapi-Mana News in 2012 that he liked to get to Ti­tahi Bay reg­u­larly to see how ‘‘his’’ houses were far­ing.

Blum was one of 190 Aus­tri­ans who sailed to New Zealand in 1952 and 1953 to con­struct pre­fab­ri­cated houses as part of an ini­tia­tive cre­ated by the New Zealand Gov­ern­ment to get thou­sands of Kiwi fam­i­lies into homes.

More than 500 im­ported pre­cut homes were con­structed by Blum and his fel­low Aus­tri­ans.

They are dis­tinc­tive by their cov­ered porches and many can be seen in the streets near Ngati Toa School.

Blum said wages in Aus­tria were not good and New Zealand was an at­trac­tive prospect for a 27-year-old in 1953.

He de­cided to come for two years, and never left.

His dis­may at find­ing al­co­hol was pro­hib­ited in Ti­tahi Bay was off­set by the re­ac­tion to the Aus­tri­ans’ ar­rival.

‘‘We had par­ties right from the start and were in­vited to the pa [in Taka­puwahia] in the first week. I think we were quite pop­u­lar,’’ he said.

The 1960s were a boom time for the sub­urb as Ti­tahi Bay’s Main Rd pro­vided bet­ter ac­cess to the land and the shop­ping cen­tre, sports clubs and schools grew fast.

In 1986, con­struc­tion of the $26 mil­lion sewage treat­ment plant be­gan and it was opened in 1989 by then Prime Min­is­ter David Lange, hail­ing it as one of the most tech­ni­cally ad­vanced


sys­tems around.

Cars on the beach was a hot topic, then and now – old pho­to­graphs show ve­hi­cles right the way up the beach, but the cen­tral area of the sand is now off lim­its due to dam­age to the fos­sil for­est.

The shop­ping cen­tre, which had 20 thriv­ing stores at its height, strug­gled to sur­vive from the mid-1980s be­cause of the de­vel­op­ment of shop­ping in cen­tral Porirua. Post­bank and other stores have closed and there is now no ATM or gas sta­tion.

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