My children are fourth generation locals - I grew up running between my parents' house on Seabreeze Rd and my nana's on Aramoana Ave. We now live in my nana's house. The family's roots here are really important to me. I think it has something to do why I've grown up with such an enduring sense of place. This is an area I know so well that there is not a stone I don't feel attached to. My children, Finn, who's six, and Molly, who's four, will grow up in this house, in this neighbourhood just as I did, and that is a very good feeling.
Justine and I met in 1991 and she moved here after growing up in Titirangi. She didn't need too much convincing to come over to this side because she knew how much it meant to me.
When I was a child, this part of Devonport on the north side of Lake Rd didn't really have a name, although the older people referred to it as Duders Point. If anything, we children thought of it as "the Kings Store bit". This was the name of the IGA shop where the bus stop was. It's a liquor store now. Today Google Maps refers to it as Narrow Neck but we grew up knowing Narrow Neck stopped on the south side of Lake Rd. It's all within the old boundaries of what was Devonport Borough though.
I love the way you can see the Harbour Bridge framed by the pohutakawa as you drive down the road, and the way the wetlands between us and Bayswater fill up with water at high tide. When I was a kid we used to play down there, get covered with mud and Nana would hose us down before she'd let us inside. Life was very relaxed then, even though Finn and Molly are also growing up in a very family orientated neighbourhood. I used to play at the old tip and apart from avoiding the bulldozers no one thought anything of it. No health and safety issues at that time.
The tip closed ages ago and was turned into Ngataringa Park. There's a skatepark, soccer fields and board walks in that area now.
There's also a recycling centre, garden centre and the Claystore Community Workshop in the general area between Stanley Point and us.
The area began to change generations about 25 years ago when a lot of the inhabitants of my grandparents' age began to move on and young families moved in. It's always been filled with children but I think when I was young there were a lot of grandparents looking after grandchildren, like in my family. Because all these streets end in cul de sacs there is very little traffic and Finn and Molly play with the neighbours' children just as I did. I used to love coming here because it had such a tight family feel to it. Still does, though I've only really started to notice that now that we have children of our own who are growing up in much the way I did.
There's definitely a sense of change in the air - the generation I remember as a child has moved on. The wider Devonport community is now an affluent one and this is reflected in the good schools and sports facilities.
Nothing much can change the beaches though, they're as beautiful as ever.
Narrow Neck Beach Cafe, Marine Reserve, Old Lake Rd, ph (09) 445 1096, open seven days 8.30am-5.30pm.
Devonport Skatepark, in Ngataringa Park, Lake Rd, opposite the Golf Course.
Waitemata Golf Club, 1 Derby St, ph (09) 445 8716.
Devonport Whole Foods, 63C Lake Rd, ph (09) 445 9598.
Claystore Community DIY Workshop, 27 Lake Rd, near Transfer Station, Monday to Saturday mornings. Koha for use of tools and advice.
Aramoana Ave Childrens' Playground, Seaward end of Aramoana Ave, down the grassy bank.