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Ed Said - Just now and then......



dadRecently I got to musing about the past decade – the “olden days” to some of our younger community members – and how, in the interim, our lives and indeed the world had changed, principally due to technology.

Our cellphones, for example, rather than being simply a means of communication, have become our entire office. Whether in hand or hands-free while travelling, business can be conducted almost without interruption to any other daily activity, appointments made, accounts paid and a daily diary of business and personal effects saved for posterity.

Computers now carry terrabytes of capacity. The amount of data they can absorb is almost infinitesimal. Almost every business has a website, the first port of call these days for information and contact. Along with this comes chatrooms of various breeds including, of course, Facebook, the medium that keeps friends and families together or at least in touch. Conversely it gives rise to all sorts of snide remarks, abuse and character assassinations the like of which has rarely been seen in previous decades and much of it under the guise of noms de plume.

But before all of this, who were the faces of the Focus a decade ago when life was oh so simple? The time before the Council fell apart and the ogre that was the wastewater system became the centre of attention and brought so much upheaval and bad feeling to a hitherto calm and collected community.

Our front page in December 2007 featured Lizzie Holsted surrounded by a feast of local foods in the old cowshed at Tara Lodge – the scene of many great music events at the time. A number of local gastronomes had organised a ‘Fine Vines and Orchard Tour’ of Mangawhai and this was one of the stops promoting Mangawhai in its finest. Des Partington received a citizens award for his service to the community and especially his long service to the volunteer fire brigade service. Des and wife Lyn later retired to Matamata.

Our ‘foodie’ Liza Maberly kept us regularly entertained with yummy recipes and lots of personal funny food-related anecdotes of her experiences both inside and outside the kitchen. We were sad to lose her to breast cancer in 2010.

A fledgling Heads FM began streaming regular news bulletins, Jess Costello complemented her efforts in surf lifesaving by opening the Kakariki Health Store at the Hub. Of course it now resides at Bennetts complex under the guidance of Alison Jacomb. Evergreen Gael McConachy was merrily developing ‘The Block’ and reporting regulary on the trials and

tribulations of turning a rough piece of dirt into a virtual paradise. And on the subject of gardening, the Garden Ramble of that year (2007) raised a record $3,000.

We even had a pic of four-year-old Tarrin Rous cutting the ribbon declaring the opening of the revamped kindergarten playground. Tarrin has come a long way since then having just graduated from Year 13 at Rodney College and is a top golfer in the making. Alison Cox received a 4-star Qualmark rating for her Mill Ridge Secluded Cottages, and Mangawhai Rotary Exchange student Nicola Gamble sent us regular reports of her time in Brazil. Where is Nicola now, I wonder?

So there you have it. Though we can’t change the past its often good to look back with interest, sadness and sometimes with regret but, in our case, a degree of pride to think we have recorded and reported a small part of the history of a growing community and remember fondly those we have met along the way.


The Mangawhai Focus is the only 'Mangawhai' community Newspaper and is the paper of choice within the local area.

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