Beach Haven Star Boys
We settled in Beach Haven during 1924 on the corner of Kiwi Rd. (now Rangatira) and Puriri Rd. (now Beach Haven Rd.). Our father was a Star agent in Eden Terrace, Auckland, from whence we came, and continued with that round after we shifted. Our mother converted one room of the house and used it as a General store, and also applied to the Auckland Star to be the agent for Beach Haven. Charlie Neads was the Birkenhead master agent, and would put our bundle of papers, Monday to Friday, on what was known as the 4:15 bus from town. Brother Stan was the first to deliver these, and as Ivan and I got older, we took over when Stan started work in the city.
Sometimes it was quite “spooky” to have to go out with the papers in the dark past many pieces of bush. We only covered the area down to the wharf and the three side roads, with I think about 30 papers to do.
On Saturdays there was no 4:15 bus, so Charlie Neads would drop ours plus Saturday Supplements at Verran’s Corner. One of us boys had the task of getting them home from there. We rode up on our old Roadster bikes, and loaded up two bundles by sitting them on our handlebars and resting them on the top bar of our bike. The top bundle held the bottom one in place, and we held that one with a thumb each side, tucked through the tie. Then it was a case of get mounted, and take off like the wind down hill all the way home, hopefully with no crash.
When we got home, we had to interleave the Supplements into the main paper to make one complete unit ready for delivery. We often used a sugar bag as hat and cloak in wet weather, made by punching one corner of the bag over to the other, and then tried to dodge the worst of the rain.
One night, Stan decided to try a short cut. He went through a track from Tui Crescent (now Rambler) to Pohutukawa (now Gazelle), did the papers in that street and tried to go across the mudflats at the bottom. That way he could deliver Mr. Carter’s paper at the bottom of Kowhai (now Cresta), then do the rest of the road and then home. The tide was out, the mud was soft, and he was up to his armpits before his cries for help were heard.
We boys also had to make some attempt at collecting the weekly money of 9d for six Stars delivered. That was not easy during the Depression, especially on a holiday week when we had no paper such as Good Friday or Christmas when that fell on any day except Sunday.
We have been told in later years that we were very lucky to have had a little paid job, but hasten to add that all was done as a labour of love for our mother.