Thursday, April 18, 2024

‘We were the Gully Kids’

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Home at Abercrombie Street.

As part of the Howick 175 events and celebrations, we have asked Howick/Pakuranga residents to share some of their memories. Today we hear from Gaye Allan (nee Laing)

My recollection of Howick back in the 50s and 60s, out in the boondocks, includes the main road which was a concrete strip from Panmure to Howick Village. We knew every street name.

My parents purchased our section and built in 1954. Howick was a fun place, where everybody knew of each other, where we had party phone lines with our own particular ring tone and most of us knew the telephone exchange operators.

I remember the tunnels and huts we built in the 8ft (2.4m)-high gorse just below Fencible Drive.

We and the neighbourhood kids made trollies and hurtled down Abercrombie Street, all metal and gravel, turning around at the bottom intersection – knees, feet and elbows scraped, scratched, a common occurrence.

We rode our bikes to school in Granger Road, Star of the Sea Convent. The nuns took us down for a swim via the Nun’s Walk in summer.

That was fun. I recall the open fires in the back yard and cooking sausages and potatoes in tin foil.

Nappy Valley comes to mind, but we were a relatively small community with lots of friends and lots of freedom. Those friends I still have today.

And what about the tunnel being built in the Howick Domain where the swings are now, apparently the new stormwater undertaking? I remember that tunnel being so big you could drive a car through.

The Howick Domain had a tree-lined boundary where rugby, cricket and athletics were played and on a Sunday morning the Howick Brass Band practised music which carried around the valley.

We played tennis at the Howick Tennis Club, my favourite place, with hours spent hitting against the volley board [which is no longer there] so no partner was needed.

I remember clearly the parades down Picton Street in the 50s and 60s and the 115-year Fencible landing re-enactment.

We were all appropriately dressed for the occasion and marched up Selwyn Road from the beach to the village. Howick today is still a destination. I never tire coming along Ridge Rd, Stockade Hill to my left and seeing that ocean view.

Howick holds an attraction for me as my hometown. I’m one of many so-called Gully Kids from the 50s and 60s.

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