My Arrival in Auckland
Two months before I was born an earthquake hit Napier, Hastings & the Hawkes Bay area where we lived. My Mother was rearing a few chickens which she would buy from the market as day old chickens. A week later, she would take them to the market again & sell them as week old chickens. Then buy day olds again. In this way she was earning a little pocket money.
Feb 3rd was market day but our mother never went that day & just as well or I wouldn't be here! The whole roof collapsed & killed everyone under it.
All the services of the city were out of order so the Govt evacuated the civilians to other parts of the country.
My Mother & sister were sent to Wellington where after 2 months on the 5 April, 1931 I was born. We then went back to London on the ‘Rangatane’ where we stayed until after my first birthday.
Our Father had stayed in Hastings to help repair the damage to buildings, railways, streets & gas & water services.
When we came back we lived in 516 Pepper St where we stayed until I was 5 years old.
I remember a rather big shake happening one night & my sister & I were very scared. "Don't worry" said Mum, "It's only an old cow rubbing herself on the corner of the house." She must have been petrified herself.
We had an auction at our house in Pepper St & with a few possessions & little money we came by train to Palmerston North. It was dark & cold when we got off the train. We went into the waiting room wrapped in a blanket each. There was an open fire roaring & lots of people sitting around the walls waiting as we were, for the train to Auckland.
The steaming great giant engine duly arrived & we all hopped on. In the guards van went our huge English pram & we were off.
We arrived in Aucldand in the morning & made our way to the Ferry Buildings. We boarded a ferry boat & came to Birkenhead Wharf. From the wharf we walked & walked. My sister (Melva) was 7 years old & myself being 5 years & our baby sister (Deidrie) at 1 year old, being pushed in the pram. The hill up from the wharf seemed so steep & I remember turning the corner near Marama Terrace & saying to my Dad "Is it much further? " "Just around the corner" said our father.
Dad had taken a trip to Auckland before we had left Hastings & found a house which we rented in Mokoia Road from a Mr Payne who owned the big building on the corner at Highbury. Mr Payne looked to me like Mickey Savage with a thick shock of white hair and a moustache.
We trudged up to Highbury & turned the last corner. Along Mokoia Road just opposite Birkenhead Primary School, we arrived at our new home. When my sister & I saw the front lawn with grass up to our waists, we burst into tears.
Such was our arrival in the Cily of Sails in 1936!