Alan recalls the bush from his younger days as a marvelous playground for the local lads. Building huts, catching cockabullies (freshwater crayfish) and kokapu (native fish) in the local creeks and canoeing on the estuary in home made “dugouts” were all enjoyed by local lads. As well, eeling was a favoured pastime, the young eels hiding out in the mud pools were caught (rarely) using a gaff or with the bare hands.
Hut building continued into the teenage years for some, with weekends spent camped in shelters laboriously built over weeks from scrounged iron and other cartable building materials. The reserve at one time provided solace for a lonely soul; the remains of the tent material used for his home still visible (2005) toward the Whitford end. In an earlier time a hermit lived in a rather derelict boat near the board walk. The remains of the hatch of his home can still be seen at low tide.
Today the bush continues to be a haven for the young with a wonderful “hideout” present in one of the larger kahikatea. The climb up needing the use of a rope and “ladder”.
Remains of an early pumping station are visible on the estuary shore. The iron shed with the large entry pipe still stands (2005) in a derelict condition not far from the Pohutakawa Entrance.
Today’s active life stylers (2005) now use the bush as a storage place for their kayaks with a track down to the waters edge. The kayak is well camouflaged within the bush.
Remnants of sheds in which to keep dingies, built probably 60 or more years ago by residents of Pohutukawa Avenue, were still visibe in 2005. These dingies were used for fishing. In the 1930’s it was common to catch a sugar sack of flounder in one haul.