16 June 2020
TIME TO SAY GOODBYE TO SOMETHING YOU HAVE TREASURED…
Dawn on Saturday 13 June saw Karekare Valley filled with mist as the clouds swirled around the lowlands, a dedicated group of members, friends and guests joined the Karekare Surf Lifesaving Club in the last goodbye to the clubhouse that had served them and the community for the past 56 years.
Warahe, Linda and Whanau representing Kawerau Maki led the procession down the newly formed gravel path to the site where over 200 years ago the Pa stood on the Watchman and surrounding hills. We acknowledged the Maki for allowing us to build on this sacred site again. Many people have come on this journey with the club over the past 20 years to make this project a reality, some of those have now moved on but everyone involved holds a special part of this building.
We thank and acknowledge our special guests from Auckland Council and the local Board, Linda Cooper, Greg Presland, Mark Allen, Shane Henderson and Sandra Coney. Also our soon to be local MP for New Lynn Deborah Russell. Along with past Council member Penny Hulst and Ross Clow who have been great friends and supporters of our project over the decades. Peter Brown also presented Piha Surf Lifesaving Club and Denis Black wearing two hats as a Piha man himself, but Denis has kindly guarantor-ed a bank loan for the club if needed at the end of the project. Also Matt Williams was in attendance from Surf Lifesaving Northern Region and many of our life members. Thank you to Richard Priest for attending who was has been involved in the architectural concepts of our new building since it’s original conception.
The blessing of the building was commenorated with a haka and the future mokopuna of the club held photos of those that have served the club in the 85 years previous. As the rainy mist drizzled on the group, it was like the tears of Karekare weeping for loss of the much beloved building that had seen many great celebrations and saved so many lives. Family members of legendary past and present members were honoured and acknowledged with so many great families over the years giving so much – some of those 3 – 4 generations have now been involved in the club. Karel and Andy spoke on behalf of the club and acknowledged those that have contributed to the project over it’s long conception.
The morning concluded with damp people returning to the Harvey household on Watchmans Road to indulge in some delicious croissants and danishes after a wet morning and to hear some of the great stories of old and a chance for all to speak. Thank you to Sir Bob and Lady Barbara for hosting the 75 guests who braved the winter morning to say their last goodbyes.
Work has started on the Karekare rebuild project now that we have moved to Level 3. Sadly the project was slightly delayed in starting due to the Covid 19 Pandemic that hit the world. After New Zealand took drastic action to shut down our economy it meant the Karekare Clubhouse project also was delayed.
Exciting news though when on Monday May 11th the project got underway led by the team from Cassidy Construction. To date the team has mobilised and setup the site in part of the grass car park with all the fencing, hazard signage and other Health & Safety matters.
Commencement of construction for the access road to the first bridge and excavations and placing of compacted hardfill for bridge foundations was laid down.
Week 2 was completion of the hardfill up to the bridge and formwork for the bridge foundations. Reinforcing steel and concrete to foundations was placed for the approach ramps and the steel beams were lifted into place. Fencing panels were installed around the heritage railway tracks to preserve them.
In the midst of all the work in the second week the Construction Team from Cassidy’s also assisted 6 members of Karekare Surf Club callout squad with a rescue on the beach. Two members of the Cassidy’s team worked throughout the rescue supporting our team in setting up the IRB, and were on standby throughout the resuscitation process and assisting where need be. Special thanks to Ben and Fasa. This is what our project is all about, building a purpose built facility on one of New Zealand’s most iconic but dangerous beaches to preserve life. We are excited to share the development of the building as it unfolds over the next 18 months.