Orewa and Red Beach

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Red Beach was named af­ter the colour of the shells which of­ten wash up on the beach. It was pur­chased by Joseph Bayes in 1886. The south­ern part of Red Beach was sub­di­vided by his grand­chil­dren. It’s now a pop­u­lar beach re­sort with a surf club and small shop­ping cen­tre. Orewa’s river was used by Maori to carry goods and pos­si­bly ca­noes be­tween coasts. Ac­cord­ing to ‘Why the Hi­bis­cus? Place Names of the Hi­bis­cus Coast’ by Robin Grover, boat-builder John Ryan and his fam­ily were prob­a­bly the first set­tlers in the area. Ryan bought the land in 1854 then sold it to Ma­jor Isaac Rhodes Cooper of the 58th reg­i­ment in 1856 and moved to Up­per Wai­w­era. Cooper drained the land for farm­ing but didn’t live there un­til 1864. He then sold the land to the Gruit fam­ily in 1867 who cre­ated a “gra­cious home there” which be­came a guest house and reached its peak in pop­u­lar­ity in 1919 with fifth own­ers Alice and Ed­ward Eaves. “Alice left land to the coun­try which be­came the Alice Eaves Scenic Re­serve.” (Eaves Bush) A sub­di­vi­sion plan was cre­ated in about 1918 but dis­ap­point­ing sales ended the scheme and the area re­mained mostly farm land un­til the 1950s. Horse races were once held along the beach. Sir Ed­mund Hil­lary camped in the town when he was a boy and his fam­ily had a bach on Florence Ave. Hil­lary Square is named af­ter him with its statue of the great man. In­for­ma­tion: Why the Hi­bis­cus? by Robin Grover

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