Whangateau

Real Estate Outlook - - Location -

It’s a tiny sea­side vil­lage with a sur­pris­ingly wide range of fa­cil­i­ties. Whangateau is about 18km from Wark­worth on Leigh Rd. It boosts a har­bour­side sports club and rugby fields, a com­mu­nity hall, play­ground and a pop­u­lar fam­ily camp ground on the wa­ter’s edge. The area is steeped in his­tory. In 1858 a ship­builder put his an­chor down in Whangateau Har­bour. In March, 150 years later, nearly 300 de­cen­dants of the ship­builder and his wife, James and Cather­ine Meik­le­john, cel­e­brated their de­ci­sion to stay. The week­end re­union fea­tured a re-en­act­ment of the Meik­le­john fam­ily’s land­ing at the fore­shore by the New Zealand Mar­itime Mu­seum and the crew of the Ted Ashby. Old boats, steam­ers and clas­sic boats, and mem­o­ra­bilia were on dis­play. James Meik­le­john is re­spon­si­ble for the nam­ing of sev­eral streets in Omaha. Pi­o­neer, Blue­bell, Caro­line, Suc­cess, Ar­gos, Ex­cel­sior, Twi­light and Ruby streets are named af­ter boats built on the har­bour. Omaha res­i­dents Carol and James Ra­m­age, Meik­le­john de­scen­dants, re­leased their 250-page book The Ships of Omaha, 1858 to 1921, at the re­union. The book is about the ships built at Omaha by the Meik­le­john fam­ily, David Dar­roch, the Mathe­son fam­ily and a few oth­ers. It briefly in­tro­duces each fam­ily and then writes about their ships in chrono­log­i­cal or­der. It in­cludes sto­ries about each ship, a list of own­ers and her fate. John Meik­le­john has the dis­tinc­tion of the build­ing of the first scow in New Zealand, the Lake Erie, in 1873, for Cap­tain Ge­orge Spencer. Later, in 1905, John Meik­le­john’s son-in-law Davey Dar­rock built New Zealand’s best-known scow the Jane Gif­ford, which is cur­rently be­ing re­con­structed in Wark­worth. For more in­for­ma­tion visit www.meik­le­john.org and www.janegif­ford.org.nz.

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