• Facebook
  • Twitter

Frank de Guerrier

Here’s another story about forgotten names around Piha. A prominent name in the early years of the Piha surf club was an exotic one: Frank Ernest de Guerrier. Frank came  [ Read More ]

Ted Browne and the Browne family

Ted and Stella Browne were the second proprietors of the Piha Boarding House. Edward “Ted” Christmas Browne was born to Simon and Gertrude Browne on 25 December 1888 at Port  [ Read More ]

Wally Jarvis – super swimmer

I heard a lot when I was growing up about Wally Jarvis, one of the best swimmers at the Piha Surf Life Saving Club. An exceedingly tall young man –  [ Read More ]

Dr and Mrs MacDiarmid

Dr MacDiarmid, as he was known to everyone at Piha in the 1950s, was the resident doctor, whether he liked it or not. He came to Piha for the quiet life, to  [ Read More ]

The Erdman Family

The Erdman family was associated with Piha for around 50 years, but the association came to an end with the death of Paula Erdman in 1995. The Erdmans originally came from  [ Read More ]

Fred Lucas

Frederick William Lucas has one of the most auspicious sporting records of any of the sportsmen in the Piha Surf Life Saving Club. He was born in 1902 to Sarah  [ Read More ]

Merle Ussher

Merle was born Ella Merle Mobbs to Horace and Nell Mobbs in Christchurch on 9 October 1919, but spent almost her whole life on the West Coast. The Mobbs family  [ Read More ]

George Potter

George Potter was one of Piha’s characters of which the community has always had not a few. George Edward Potter was born to Florence Minnie and Frank Potter on 6 March  [ Read More ]

Mary Dobbie

Mary Dobbie was one of the most well-known personalities at Piha and a leader in many community developments from the 1970s till the 1990s. Born in 1913 in London to parents  [ 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  [ Read More ]

Merv and Rene “Mum” Otto

The Ottos were at the centre of everything happening at Piha in the 1940 to the 1960s. Merv was a live-wire and Mr Fix-it man all around Piha, while Mum,  [ Read More ]

Snow and Dot Mercier

“Snow Mercier was actually Eric Horace Leopold Mercier. He and his wife, Dot, were well-known personalities at Piha for decades.  Predictably, Snow got his name from his sandy hair and  [ Read More ]

W Laird Thomson

The Laird Thomson Track that runs from the end of North Piha up to Te Waha Point commemorates a remarkable man, who, with his Whites Beach neighbour, Jim Rose, gifted  [ Read More ]

Dick Kibblewhite

Richard (Dick) Kibblewhite was an Auckland architect who tried to subdivide Piha in the 1920s, starting as early as 1923. Advertising in his Auckland CBD office street frontage was his  [ Read More ]

Les Barker – long-distance runner

I can remember when driving out to Piha we would sometimes pass Les Barker striding out on the Piha Road. Fitness fanatic Les used to run to Piha from the  [ Read More ]

Wilf and Ella Hilford, lovers of Piha’s pohutukawa

Wilf and Ella Hilford were two of the original community that settled at the end of North Piha Beach, Ella, or Marcella Wardrop Luke Hilford, having purchased Lots 46 and  [ Read More ]

Gerry O’Loughlin

Gerry O’Loughlin was one of the jokesters in the legendary Spivs and Drones. With a large moon-like face and deadpan expression, Jerry could be guaranteed to take the mickey. By  [ Read More ]

Alister Bevin

Alister Bevin was Mr Entrepreneur and Inventor of Piha in the 1940s and 1950s. In town he had a firm with agricultural implements in Albert Street and every Piha bach had  [ Read More ]

Lindsay Schubert

One of two suave Lebanese-descended brothers – Lin and Des – who got involved in the Piha Surf Club. Lin was sophisticated, always immaculately groomed and turned out, and he  [ Read More ]

Edward “Tiger” O’Brien

Tiger O’Brien was a broad-chested nuggety fellow, of sandy compexion. Unlucky in love, he was a bachelor most of his life. When 41 he married Elizabeth Murray, but the marriage did  [ Read More ]

George Calnan

Greatly loved secretary of the Piha surf club, honorary “uncle” to a generation of surf club boys. A single man, lab assistant at Auckland Uni, George was brought out to  [ Read More ]

Johnnie Oxspring

One of the early surf club members. Had an early bach on the dunes near the beach. His sister Ida married All Black Freddie Lucas and had our beloved Buddy.  [ Read More ]

Consuelo “Kay” Ketterer

Mrs Ketterer came from Helensville – started the first beachfront store at Piha in Marine Parade South and then the tearooms and store in Beach Valley Road. This is where  [ Read More ]


Dene Watson was a good-looking member of the Piha surf club who all the girls fancied. In the boat crew, a good swimmer.  Wore the same sweater for years, olive  [ Read More ]

Hadyn Way

A big hard wrestler, nicknamed “The Grap”, short for Grappler. Wrestled with Dad. Married the beautiful Barbara. Was a great asset to the sporting prowess of the Piha Surf Club and  [ Read More ]

Eric Askew

Early member of Piha Surf Club. Blond, good-looking, grew up in Morningside across the road from my Dad. Had a place in Rayner Road, an army hut with a circus  [ Read More ]

Peter Way

“The Wild Man”, tall, rugged, only child of Hadyn and Barbara. Defected from Piha Surf Club to North Piha. Took up malibu board riding in the 1950s and became a  [ Read More ]