Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Moerewa is a 'town' best seen at a 100k through your rear vision mirror. It is right there at the bottom of the deprivation index. You would never want to stay there and you can't because there is nothing to stay in. A 4 Square (which featured in the news as selling precursors in the manufacture of 'P'); the Klondike Tavern (aka 'The flying Jug'); a tattoo shop; a second hand shop where I suspect you go to find your stolen goods and a great number of boarded up buildings going derelict.

And so it was that the Veteran spent a goodly part of Friday and Saturday 'trapped' in Moerewa by floods. I have driven all over the world. The weather bomb that hit the east coast of Northland on the Friday night produced the worst driving conditions I have ever experienced.

At about 10.00 pm I reached the little creek at the bottom of the Moerewa Hill to find it had expanded to about 70m wide with the bridge 1m under water. I guess there would have been about 20 cars trapped on the Moerewa side and an unknown number of the hill side. The rain was sheeting down and the cars on our side slowly built up until about 1.00 am when the road south from Moerewa to Kawakawa went under with a Camper Wagon and trailer swept off the road into the swamp with the occupants rescued by the Kawakawa Fire Brigade at about 3,00 am clinging to the roof of the vehicle. I kid you not. This was just like Queensland.

So there we were completely stuck (marooned) I guess about 100 cars in total. At about midnight torches appeared from the direction of the township back about .5k from the bridge. They were members of the local 'Happy Clappy' Church which was located in the old Moerewa Pub. I cannot speak too highly of them. They opened up the Church, found mattresses for those with young families; provided hot drinks and then for the whole of Saturday walked up and down the line of cars and offered food and drink to those still in their vehicles .... and this from a community on the bones of its bum.

Meanwhile back at the bridge the local dog control officer (whose house was going under) and using his Council ute worked continuously for 24 hours without a break
towing vehicles stuck in water and in the late Saturday afternoon, as the waters started to recede, towing vehicles through the water to the other side. He refused any payment ... said he was there to help.

I take my hat off to the members of that Church and to the FNDC Dog Control Officer. I saw another side of that sad town which is home to some magnificent people.


Anonymous said...

So, have you learned to be careful about blanket judgements based on appearances?

The Realist said...

Any Patches helping?

Redbaiter said...

About the only post you've ever done here that was worth more than two cups of cat's piss.

Anonymous said...

Real New Zealanders help Real New Zealanders

Adolf Fiinkensein said...


Mowereewah (if you're a honkie)or Mo e re wa (if you're a hori) was my home 'town' as a child and young adult. We lived five miles up the valley from town.

Back then it was a thriving bustling town with a freezing works, dairy factory, and nearby railway hub (Otiria) and export port. (Opua) The latter three closed (during the seventies?)and Moerewa has never recovered from thse blows.

Yes there were a few ratbag families in the valley and in the town but the majority were plain ordinary generous and trustworthy New Zealanders. I won't mention the names of the ratbag families but among those at the other end of the scale were Cherringtons, Bakers, Tanas, Owens, Broughtons, Beatties and Tipenes, to name a few. As you found Vet, their descendants are still there.

I well remember just before Christmas 1963 working as a 'seagull' at Opua wharf. We were picked up from and delivered back to Moerewa by bus and my take home pay for ten days work, including productivity bonus (more than double the actual wage)was eighty-four pounds. That's an annualised rate of $4,370 (after tax) at a time when a new university graduate would have been offered around $2,000 gross.

You can see the wharfies were the real rich pricks of the sixties.

In that same year, my parents net farm profit was thirty five pounds.

You see, they were being sent broke by the ratbag families who were in control of the meat workers' unions.

Anonymous said...

"You can see the wharfies were the real rich pricks of the sixties."

Yep, pricks for sure. The Marines found that in 1941 upon landing in Wellington. The war had to stop for the rain.

Vote Labour and get them back in charge again.

Anonymous said...

The first Americans arrived in Auckland NZ june 12 1942.

Wellington two days later.


Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Vet, how could I have omitted from that list the Whiu family, one of whom appears to be the police commander at Kaikohe?

As an aside, jumping the fence was one of the local sports and looking around the classroom one could guess who the actual fathers were.

Abortion was unheard of and socially unacceptable. Of course that was before the pinko liberals gained undue influence.

Anonymous said...

great community who knows what is like to be stranded in more ways then one and can still find it in them to help others.