I’m still taking photos in the small east coast town of Opunake, yesterday we saw the tag art of the Café Surf Lodge 45, and today we are looking at a mural diagonally across the street that depicts the history of Opunake.
Called “Reflections of Opunake 1900 -2000″ it’s by mural artist Denis Lattimer and was painted in April/May 2002.
There was an information board close by so I managed to collect some details about the mural which I have added (in italics) to the photos below.
Whilst there was a large open space next to this wall, there were also several petrol pumps down the middle of it so cars came and went as people tanked their vehicles and I made allowances accordingly since getting photos without the cars or the pumps in the picture was a bit tricky, but did my best from several angles.
The building of roads out of boulders and swampland created it’s own share of mishaps. This 1910 scene shows a steamroller being extracted on one such occasion.
Potentially seen as the biggest port on the west coast, two attempts were made to establish a safe wharf during the early part of the century. Unfortunately both failed as commercial ventures and safe berths. Some piles of the one pictured still remain at the northern end of Opunake beach.
This mode of transport was a common sight on Opunake roads at least into the 1930′s.
Taken from a 1921 photograph this Hudson vehicle transported passengers and mail from Eltham to Opunake. “Speed, safety & comfort”was the company motto.
The farmers co-op-operative chain of retail outlets were vital suppliers to the coastal towns these delivery vehicles were a common sight on the Opunake roads during the 1950′s and 60′s. Allied farmers continue in business today.
Opunake’s beach has long been a popular spot with both locals and tourists. This picture from the 1930′s shows a pagoda changing room where the local surf lifesaving club stands today.
Flax farms and associated fibermills were an important source of employment. Maori women are adept at flax weaving – a tradition continued to this day.
The railway line branched from Hawera and ended at Opunake, where engines mounted a turntable for the return journey. This thriving method of transport was superceded by road cartage and the rail closed in 1973.
Hand milking a mixed breed cow, probably in the 1920′s. Cow herds may have numbered 20 compared to the largest today of around 700.
The surf breaks along this coast are considered among the best in the world. Depicted is a local surfer on a typical wave. This sport is nurtured as a future tourist industry.
Frisian herds are arguably the most popular of breeds on the local coast. The dairy farms form the economic infrastructure are vital to the prosperity of the area. The milk collection tankers are an everyday sight through the township.
The oil and gas condensate platforms, Maui A and Maui B, (erected 1976 and 1972) are situated approx. 33 km offshore. Their operating lights are visible on a clear night. They are part of the part of the recovery of the considerable on and off shore oil reserves.