Local Heart, Global Soul

October 17, 2018

Reefton To Greymouth, Local History And The Locals…

Filed under: NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY,West Coast /Westland Province — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are almost at our destination for the night, we have come from Reefton (details in my yesterday’s post) and arrived in Greymouth.

Literally located on the mouth of the Grey River, it’s one of only three large towns in the province of Westland (also known as the West Coast). The others being Westport and Hokitika.  (Pronounced “Hoe-car-tik- ah”). 

Reefton could be added as the forth smaller town if you are counting the places that have more than one thousand people.

Locals in the province are called “Coasters” and driving across a very typical one-way bridge reminded me of a few facts and a story my Granddad once told us. First: the bridge is wooden but due to the high rainfall here, economics and ease of manufacture, it’s got a layer of asphalt over the boards.

This is typical of many county bridges in New Zealand but no-where more so than on the West Coast. My New Zealand Granddad was born a few days after my Great Grandparents stepped off the ship from England and they came to the West Coast for work. He told just that before the neat signs were made with arrows indicating who has right of way should two vehicles show up at the same time, and in the times when having a beer (or few) in the pub and then driving home was the norm, that there was a “code” for who would go first on these bridges. He then laughed and told us, half seriously, that the rule was “my turn, your turn, my turn, your turn“.

Of course it doesn’t take much to figure out the error of this logic but this being the West Coast he may not have actually been joking. Coasters have a reputation of being a tough lot, full of ingenuity, resourcefulness, a small amount of rashness and with a great sense of humour.

On the occasion of my Grandparents 50th Wedding anniversary, (posted here:  “A House That Will Almost Literally be Here Today and Gone Tomorrow… ”  https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/new-597/    ) a full family get-together turned into a confession night of all the things my Mother and her brothers had done as kids, also antics of my Granddad where experiments to remove tree stumps involved dynamite and resulted in an extremely badly controlled explosion and kindling wood flying around a large radius like shrapnel. This also resulted in one of my mothers older brothers trying a similar thing at a later date but instead of the tree “trim” they were aiming for, the entire tree, roots and all, exited the ground and could easily have killed any of the small group of kids who had assembled to watch.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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