I’m on holiday (i.e. away from the Magic Pen) until the New Year, but I’ll try to post some pictures in the meantime.
These are some drawings I did for Waitakere Legends, a project organised by Waitakere City Council before it was merged into the new Auckland City. They commissioned a number of artists (including Misery and the great Barry Linton) to illustrate stories from the history of the region. These then turned up in various places: on a billboard at the Henderson Railway Station, in a printed booklet, and decorating selected public buildings.
I did three pictures for the project, and here they are. You can click on each image to see it larger.
In the 1920s, a large cave at Whatipu beach was used for evening dances. A wooden (kauri) dance floor was laid down by local millers and a launch would bring revellers from Onehunga to the Whatipu wharf. The cave was decorated with lanterns and ribbons and a band would play for the well-dressed dancers. Decades later, the cave was also used for psychedelic and trance dance parties, although the wooden dance floor is now buried under metres of sand.
Since 1985, a semi-annual horse race has been held at Karekare beach (a wild west-cost surf beach), to raise money for the local school, surf lifesaving club and volunteer fire brigade. People come from all over the region, and a festive atmosphere reigns, with barbecues and raffles, bright banners and family fun. The date of the event moves around, as it needs a low tide at midday on a Saturday, which happens about three times a year.
Waitakere has long been a place of orchards, vineyards and market gardens – many first planted by newcomers from the Dalmatian Coast in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. One such family is the Glucina brothers, Gregory and Mate, who arrived between 1898 and 1900, whose orchard on Shaw Road in Oratia gave birth to a brand new variety of apple, which came to be called the Oratia Beauty. The apple is famously tart and crisp, and rather sour but it spread throughout New Zealand and is now considered a heritage apple.