Contractors Mills & Albert have confirmed with PCC that they will be starting the widening and resurfacing of the shared SH1 footpath from the Pukerua Bay shops north to the overbridge next Tuesday, 19th of May. This was originally scheduled for 23rd of March, but was put on hold due to the COVID-19 lock-down.
This $45,000 Porirua City Council village planning project has been in the pipe for at least ten years to improve the safety of pedestrian and cyclists along SH1. It is now going ahead with matched funding from NZTA to bring the total project funding to $90,000. This funding will allow bringing the pathway up to the required NZTA standard for shared pathways, in particular that it be a minimum of two metres wide.
The existing footpath path will be widened up to 400 mm in some places with wooden edging and retaining walls where necessary. In the three locations where the path is failing and slipping down the adjacent slope, a full width path reinstatement with be undertaken. At the end of the widening works, the widened areas will be full-width resurfaced.
Footpath diversion will be in place
Mills & Albert estimate the works will take 20 working days. During this time unfortunately a footpath diversion will be in place, similar to when the retaining wall was constructed last year, but for only 4 weeks. In addition, the shortcut to the shops across the school field will be cordoned off and unavailable while this work is being done.
You will also be able to go between the overbridge and the shops via Te Motu Road and the SH1 pedestrian refuge at the shops.
Now we’re in Level 2, if you’d like to help Ngā Ururoa Kāpiti Project with their first working bee clearing weeds in the Waikākāriki Wetland, please let Andy McKay know by text or email. Do not just show up on the day, please read the details below around Level 2 restrictions.
Sunday 17 May 2020 at 9am – 11 am (ical) South end of Escarpment access track (not the Escarpment Track itself), Paekākāriki
Walk along the Southern end of the access track to the Paekākāriki Escarpment Track to the meeting spot (not the actual Escarpment Track!) The exact area is shown in the map:
During Alert Level 2 things will have to work differently. There is a limit of 10 people, so do not just show up, please RSVP to Andy McKay by text or email first. Other things to be aware of:
Minimise the spread through personal hand hygiene, gloves and other personal protection equipment
No sharing of equipment or tools
Physical distancing of 1m will be maintained
No sharing of food, drinks or cutlery
It is important anyone feeling unwell stays home
Shorter time frame 9am-11am to fit to 2 hour limit on gatherings
If you can only make it for a short time that’s totally fine, drop by at any time, just text before hand!
With the move to Level 2 in the Covid-19 response, we have also reduced our community response to keeping a eye on events. However, we still have a group of volunteers willing to help.
If you need some assistance with collecting essential goods, such as grocery shopping or collecting medicine, please get in touch with us by phoning Helen on 0211466421 or emailing Kelly at email@example.com.
In a few weeks, you’re going to be asked to help review our Village Plan. In the past, residents have always said that one of the things they love most about Pukerua Bay is our beautiful natural environment.
This issue of the Covid Courier looks at some of what makes our place so special and offers you a chance to be given a copy of one of Gay Hay’s beautiful books! It also looks at some of the supports available as we change lockdown levels.
Kohekohe by Gillian Candler
Nature in Pukerua Bay by Gay Hay
We remembered on Anzac Day
Coping with change – support within our village and from outside
Pukerua Bay has a long association with servicemen. Some of the men were living in the Bay when they enlisted, but many of them were associated with the Bay through friends and family.
Local historian, Margaret Blair, tells their stories in this special issue of COVID Courier.
Plan for the 25th: Stand at Dawn The RSA and New Zealand Defence Force would like us to remember those who gave their lives for our country. At 6:00 am on Saturday 25 April, stand at your letterbox and take a moment to remember our fallen – but please stay within your ‘bubble’.
Sudden death, stabbing and robberies: The Wild West? No – the Pukerua railway camp.
During the construction of the railway tunnels between 1884 to 1886 up to 400 men were employed at any one time by Samuel Brown the contractor. The No. 15 contract, for construction of the railway between Pukerua and Paekakariki including six tunnels, was “considered the most difficult and important [contract] on the line.”¹ Many of the men lived at Pukerua in what was known as “the railway camp” or “Brown’s camp”. They lived in tents, whares and huts or stayed in “boarding houses,” which were probably just tents with wooden floors.
The brick makers, bricklayers, tunnelers, quarrymen, woodcutters, stonemasons and navvies walked from Wellington round Porirua Harbour from Pauatahanui, up the Kakaho Stream valley then over the saddle and down to the camp. Contractors, managers, foremen and the better paid tradespeople travelled by coach to Pauatahanui and walked to the camp or took passage on one of the coastal steamers calling onto Pukerua.
With so many men in the camp there were incidents such as robberies of watches, money, jewellery and even clothing. During this time the New Zealand Police Gazette had fourteen entries for Pukerua including a one pound reward notice for a sixteen year old ship deserter. More dramatic was a fire in a whare which had dynamite and blasting caps stored inside. The two miners who lived in the whare made a very hasty exit. Although the caps exploded the dynamite “burned quietly” but they lost all their clothes.
Generally the camp was peaceful but in June 1886 two miners who shared a whare had an argument. One was stabbed with a miner’s candlestick, a sharp pointed iron candle holder used in mines and tunnels. The charge of unlawful wounding was changed by mutual consent to common assault and both miners were bound by the Magistrate to keep the peace for six months.
Benjamin Thatcher, a man who already knew the inside of a Magistrate’s Court, ran one of the boarding houses at the Pukerua railway camp. As well as accommodation and meals Thatcher provided the workmen with alcohol. But he never had a licence nor was there any way to hide the barrels of beer rowed ashore from the s.s.Tui. Constable Roche from Paekakariki saw 120 gallons of beer from the Thorndon Brewery being landed at Pukerua for Thatcher on 16 May 1885. Thatcher was subsequently charged at the Paekakariki Police Court with sly-grog selling. Constable Roche said, “that the vicinity of Thatcher’s house was one of the most dangerous places in New Zealand for drunken men to frequent, as they had to pass a high and precipitous cliff going backwards and forwards.”² Thatcher was fined £20 and costs or one month in prison with hard labour if the fine was not paid. Later that same year he was fined 20 shillings, with 7 shillings costs for being drunk in charge of a horse at Pukerua. However, two months later the horse may have had its revenge. While Thatcher was riding beside the contractor’s tramway he was thrown from the horse with “great force” onto the iron rails. He was badly injured and taken to Wellington Hospital by train.
Running a boarding house at Pukerua during construction of the railway was a risky business. Three Pukerua boarding house keepers at the railway camp, James Edward Raistrick, Edward Robinson and Edward Henry Banks, ended up in court when each, at different times, was declared bankrupt.
In September 1884 a Post Office and Post Office Savings Bank were established at Pukerua with John Laughton, the works manager, as postmaster. Many men spent all of their first pay on alcohol and were absent next day. Samuel Brown announced that from then on anyone absent after pay day would be dismissed and he advised workers to make use of the Savings Bank. This advice was heeded and there were no more absences following pay day. Laughton encouraged workers to save and on one occasion over £300 was deposited by Pukerua workmen into the Savings Bank.
In late August 1885 the badly decomposed body of a man was found up a gully near the camp. He was identified as Richard Price, a striker who worked with the blacksmith Malcolm Mclntyre. The inquest heard that in June Price was planning to work on a bridge near Woodville and his mates thought he had left even though the body was only 150 yards from his hut. He was known to be a heavy drinker and this may have contributed to his demise.
The Pukerua railway camp was disbanded with the opening of the railway and so ended a most colourful time of Pukerua’s history.