1976: the sprats were waiting to be caught

With her fishing rod and a little metal tackle box, 4-year-old Felicity Pollard trudges along the shore in borrowed gumboots.

"I remember that day well," Felicity recalls. "There might have been a moment when my gumboot got stuck in the mud.

"You can't see in the photo but my hat was bright red and the gumboots were my older brother's so they were far too big."

It had been a rainy weekend and, with the sun finally shining, Felicity, her three brothers and younger sister made the most of the weather with a trip to Cox's Bay Reserve in Westmere.


"I do remember the tide was out and it was later in the day. The sun was glistening off the water and it was very muddy. It is etched in my mind but that might be partly because I saw the photo so much that memory was reinforced."

Just after the photo ran in the New Zealand Herald, Felicity's mother, Judy Pollard, was approached by a local artist who wanted to paint it.

The painting then took pride of place in the family home.

Now a mother-of-four, Felicity, 42, remembers long blissful days exploring the estuary, near her grandparents', Christine and Clifford Sefton's, home in Westmere.

The family lived in Howick but spent most weekends at their grandparents' house. "Mum had five kids so we would always be at my grandparents' house, so Mum had that support, I guess."

The five Pollard kids would pile into their parents' pale brown Toyota Corolla station wagon - nicknamed The Peanut Brownie - and make the long journey from East Auckland.

"It was epic because there wasn't the extensive motorway like there is now. We were all squashed in and there wasn't any car seats or even safety belts back then - it was a very different time."

Felicity's grandmother, Christine, died just six months ago, aged 97. "Nan was the person who taught us how to bake and cook. We spent a lot of time with her. She was our second mum."