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New roof keeps heritage

The women’s ablution block at North Piha Campers Club is sporting a bright new Marseilles tile roof. The old tiles were leaking, and the Campers Club, which runs the membership only campground, was asked by the Waitakere Ranges Local Board (managers of Les Waygood Park), whether it wanted a new long-run steel roof or a replacement Marseilles tile  [ Read More ]

An astonishing rescue at Karekare

In 1935, not long after the Piha surf club was established, a young nurse called Hazel Bentham got into trouble while swimming with a lilo at neighbouring Karekare beach. Pulled far out to sea by a rip, she clung to her lilo while frantic attempts to reach her were made by the Piha life savers, who  [ Read More ]

History of the Piha Bowling Club

The Piha Bowling Club was established in 1955 in the Piha Domain. The greens were bulldozed by “Tiger” O’Brien and the first president was W Hall. Frank Barnett, from Garden Road (who gave his name to Barnett Hall at North Piha) was foundation treasurer. A Piha Women’s Bowling Club was founded the following year (1956) with  [ Read More ]

Ted Le Grice and the Piha Boarding House

Ted Le Grice built the Piha Boarding House in about 1922, and it has long stood as a prominent landmark at Piha. So who was Ted le Grice and where did he come from? Charles Edward “Ted” Le Grice was born in 1881 at Colville on the Coromandel, to Jeremiah Le Grice and Leah Le Grice,  [ Read More ]

History of the Piha Domain

In the early part of the twentieth century a Piha Domain was gazetted on what was then called the West Coast Road (now the Piha Road). Comprising 146 acres, it has now been absorbed into the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park. What is now called Piha Domain was originally called the Piha Beach Domain and comprised  [ Read More ]

North calls in at Piha and talks to Sandra

Marcus Lush’s new programme North was passing through Piha on Sunday 27 February and who should show up on it, but yours truly. I got to tell two stories: The “body in the burning bach” about an insurance swindle in the 1930s that involved exhuming a body from Waikumete Cemetery and setting fire to a  [ Read More ]

The story of the Tolu Vaa

In 1963, a trimaran called Tolu Vaa, sailing along the West Coast and with darkness falling, ran for shelter at Piha. With the help of the surf club, which saw the drama unfolding, the Tolu Vaa was successfully beached, all sails hoisted. At that time, a trimaran was a thing of novelty and everyone at Piha  [ Read More ]

Early visitors to Piha

The West Coast was popular with tourists and visitors from the late 19th and early 20th century, but they tended to visit Karekare and The Gap rather than Piha beach itself. The problem was that there was no adequate road down the Piha Hill and the steepness and large rocky outcrops deterred all but the fittest walkers and  [ Read More ]