Loving our place – Covid Courier #5

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

COVID Courier – Anzac issue

Hot off the press — Pukerua Bay’s COVID Courier ANZAC Day special!

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’.

Read the Anzac issue of the COVID Courier.

COVID Courier #3 is out

The latest edition of the COVID Courier is out, with more on our competitions.

Most of us are probably keen to hear the news — possibly tomorrow — about when we will move from Level 4 to Level 3.

In the meantime, we have more news about events in Pukerua Bay and the PKB Lockdown challenges.

We also have advice from one of our community members on linking up with someone if you’re feeling a bit down.

Read it all here. If you know a neighbour who would like it, but isn’t online or on social media, print a copy and drop it in their letterbox.

The Pukerua Railway Camp

Pukerua Bay HomeHe Ara Pukerua ‣ The Pukerua Railway Camp

Samuel Brown. Photo: Wellington City Council Archives, 00138-12397.

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.

Wellington Manawatu Railway plan for Pukerua
Wellington Manawatu Railway plan for Pukerua showing Bright’s Clearing and Waimapihi Stream. Photo: New Zealand Railway and Locomotive Society.

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.

By Ashley Blair, Pukerua Bay Heritage Group.

References

  1. “Wellington and Manawatu Railway” New Zealand Mail, Issue 656, 19 September 1884, (Supplement) p. 1
  2. “Sly grog-Selling at Pukerua” Evening Post, Volume XXX, Issue 2, 2 July 1885, p. 3

COVID Courier #2 out

The lastest edition of the COVID Courier is out with news and tips for getting through the rest of the lockdown.

And competitions! The limericks made us chuckle, but we want more.

Kirk has a challenge for you to help make videos and take photos about you and your family during the lockdown.

If you’re finding things getting a bit much, you don’t have to go through it on your own. The Courier has tips on where to find emotional support.

And there’s information about where you can worship this Easter – obviously from home – but there are Christian communities that have organised events anyone can join.

Read it all here.

New service to support people facing hardship

Porirua City Council is now part of a new service to help people get access to food and medication. It has been set up to assist people with disabilities, at-risk groups and people without access to their own transport.

The service is intended for those facing hardship and is in addition to other support measures provided by other agencies, such as Work and Income, and community groups like ours. It will deliver help and essential household supplies to the doorstep.

The regional CDEM groups have local helplines people facing hardship can ring. Porirua people can ring the Wellington Region Call Centre on 0800 141 967. This call centre is available between 7:00am–7:00pm and will put you in touch with the services you need.

If you don’t have the essentials you need to get through lockdown (such as food, medication or cleaning supplies), they ask that you should initially try calling a:

  • neighbour
  • family member who lives nearby
  • friend who lives nearby.

You can get in touch with the local helpers’ network we’ve set up in Pukerua Bay by using our ‘Ask For Help’ form and we can get someone to contact you. We can also organise people who can phone you regularly to see whether there is anything you need, or for a friendly chat.

However, if you don’t have these options available to you, or you would prefer to ask someone else, then please call the Wellington Region Call Centre on 0800 141 967.

Looking after your mental wellbeing

Where can I find ideas and information to help me and my family through this difficult time?

Reach out to your usual supports over the phone — family and whānau, friends and workmates. Sharing how we feel and offering support to others is important. 

Sticking to a routine such as having regular mealtimes, bedtimes and exercising really helps. 

If over the following days and weeks you feel you are not coping, it’s important to seek help and professional support. Your family doctor is a good starting point.

For support with grief, anxiety, distress or mental well-being, you can also call or text the ‘Need to talk?’ service on 1737. This service is free, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and gives you the chance to talk it through with a trained counsellor.

There is excellent advice on the government’s Unite Against COVID-19 website on looking after your mental well-being.

Depression.org specific tips on coping with COVID-19
https://depression.org.nz/covid-19/

The Lowdown – for young people
https://thelowdown.co.nz/

Who could I call?

In a crisis

You should contact the mental health crisis teams in this area at
Te Haika 0800 745 477 (operating 24/7).

All the groups listed below have counsellors who will do whatever they can to help.

The Depression Helpline 0800 111 757 or text 4202
The Lowdown Team Free text 5626 or email the team using the link on the website.
Alcoholics Anonymous 0800 229 6757
Alcohol Drug Helpline 0800 787 797
Anxiety Line 0800 2694 389
Healthline 0800 611 116
Lifeline 0800 543 354
Samaritans 0800 726 666
Victim Support 0800 842 846
Youthline 0800 376 633 or text 234

Safe shopping

Shopping will become a major preoccupation for all of us over the next month. Here are some tips on shopping safely and smartly.

This information was up to date at 9pm, Wednesday 25 March.

Pukerua Bay store

This is still open daily from 10am – 7pm. They have good stocks of all the basics they normally carry.

There is only one person allowed in the store at a time. They will take cash but prefer eftpos (no credit card).

Duval at the store says he is happy to take orders over the phone and if he has the time will bag them up for people to collect later and pay. He might be able to get some items in for you – just ask. This is for people who are not able to get to the supermarket. Their phone number is 239 9140

Supermarkets

New World Paramata is open 9.00am–7.00pm each day. (Changed from normal hours)

Pack’nSave Porirua is open 7.00am–11.00pm.

Safe shopping recommendations

Nominate a family member to shop – to comply with physical distancing recommendations, and to ensure there is a steady flow of traffic in and out of stores within their ‘one in, one out’ system, they are asking people who shop in person to please shop alone. This is to ensure the number of people in-store at any one time is kept to a minimum.

Contactless payments – they encourage customers to use contactless payments such as PayWave as another way of reducing contact between customers and staff.

Shop online (where available) – they have introduced contactless online shopping delivery for customers who are self-isolating, vulnerable or unwell – customers should let the team know in the comments section when the order is placed. If you are feeling unwell, please do not come to the store to collect your Click & Collect order and to instead arrange a friend or family member to pick up your groceries for you.

New World iShop:

for Apple iOS for Android

Pack your own bags – New World will be doing this as a staff protection measure, but please ask for help if you need assistance to pack your groceries.

#shopnormal – do not stockpile groceries; this is so everyone has a fair shot at buying their grocery essentials. When someone buys five packs of toilet paper, and they only need one, they are taking away from four other people who may have needed it. Some customers might not have the resources to buy up or the ability to visit the store every day. Please buy what you need and be fair to others.

Countdown All Countdown supermarkets are open 9.00am–8.00pm. They have placed a temporary limit of two similar items per customer shopping visit across their store and online shopping service, with the exception of Produce & Serviced Deli. That means you will only be able to buy a maximum of two packs of toilet paper, two packs of mince, two packets of chicken, etc. All deliveries are contactless.

myCountdown:

for Apple iOS for Android

Petrol stations

Service stations and truck stops are considered essential services and will stay open to support New Zealanders. Both Z Energy and BP have smartphone apps you can use to pay for fuel at the pump. You can also order a coffee with them.

Z Energy Z is implementing strict controls to minimise contact with their staff. These include operating a locked door policy and accepting payment through the night window. You will still be able to purchase supplies from the store and these will be passed through the window to you. You will also be able to use Pay at Pump.

Z App:

for Apple iOS for Android

BP Under Level Three and Level Four of the COVID-19 alert system, BP Connect sites will operate under closed-door operations. This means customers are not able to enter the shop, however, they can continue to purchase fuel and shop items as normal. Carwashes are closed. BP truck stops will remain open during this time as per normal.

BPMe:

for Apple iOS for Android

Pharmacies

Mana Pharmacy They will be open all throughout the lockdown. There is still a big demand for prescriptions so there is still a 2-hour delay for urgent prescriptions and if something is not urgent, leave it for another day. Please don’t wait at the pharmacy.

There are strict limits on who is allowed into the pharmacy. If you are waiting to be attended, please maintain the two-metre social distance.

They have received stock of flu vaccines. They will be making appointments for these so that people are not waiting. Please phone them on 04 2330800 to make an appointment. They are vaccinating those over 65 and with eligible conditions.