The beach at Waimarama

Mt. St. Marys,
Sun. 21st July ’68.

Dear Mum & Dad,

We have just returned from Camp. Twice a week we had Conges. On one – last Tuesday three of us left at 9 a.m. and arrived back at 8.30 p.m. We had walked about 6 miles when a blue lorry pulled up and gave us a lift. It was Rod, who was on his way to Napier. He dropped us off after 12 miles – about 6 miles from Clifton. We had lunch at Clifton at about 1-2 p.m. and then started for Cape Kidnappers. We were lucky with the tides and got there in about 1 ½ hours. There were only a few gannets. We then started back for camp. We had just one more point left to round on the coast – called “The Bluff” – which we had to do before the tide came in. If we didn’t make it we would have to climb over which would take 1 ½ hrs. longer. The tide was about ¼ the way in when we got there, and the rocks were slippery, and the water was absolutely freezing, and the waves were coming in, and the cliff was sheer above me, and it is getting dark (it was only about 4.30 p.m. but I’m sure it felt as if it was getting dark!) and half way round I scared stiff. We reached the opposite shore quite safely. The only danger was in getting our clothes wet, which we didn’t do because we were carrying most of them!

After this we had to walk Ocean Beach, which in daylight looks about 2 miles long but is really 8 miles. It soon got dark, and the 8 miles seemed like 80. There wasn’t a shell or piece of wood on the beach, and there was no settlement about. At about 7 p.m. we came to what is called First Point. (The Students named all these places – they just grew up. A long time ago there was a student who was a draughtsman and thus most of the names are now on the map). First Point is just a sharp curve in the beach where the sand gives way to rocks, and a reef juts out into the sea. We were well back from the sea but the rocks were deceiving in the dark. I slipped at one stage and got cramp, which wasn’t a very pleasant thing to get after 10 hrs of walking and another 1 ½ hours ahead. It soon went away though. After that we had another long stretch of sand to walk – Waimarama Beach. It wasn’t until 200 yards from camp that I got my sandshoes wet. I came out of it without a blister. (Fr. Mannix walked 16 miles on one Conge and go some blisters so he has now ordered some new tramping boots!) After this we had a film called “I Saw What You Did” which was very scary - all the more so after a 42 mile Conge, 30 miles of which were walked! The funny thing was that when we set out we only intended to walk a few miles up the beach, but because we got the ride we told some others we would be back late and went further afield. The next morning everyone slept in until 8 o’clock. (We all slept in tents on stretchers with as many blankets as we could find so we only really slept in till about 5 o’clock).

I was pleased to see Tony and Mehegan when they called in. I suppose you heard all about Camp from them. Fr. Weaver was telling me that when he met Tony at Greenmeadows he couldn’t think what to say, so he said, “Are you older than Bruce?” He then realized he couldn’t have said anything sillier, so he handed them over to Bro. Sylvester who apparently could think of too much to say.

There were no repercussions from the sewing machine. Bro. Michael didn’t even mention it.

I got another English Assignment back with a C+, which wasn’t as good as the last two times, but wasn’t bad.

We went to see the French play Hawkes Bay yesterday, & it was very enjoyable. The French came out to practise on our field in the morning, & some came to buy wine the day before.

Joe Stowers in our band, the Samoan, left two weeks ago. Although he is a qualified accountant he got all his diplomas in Samoan and is not very good at speaking English. He is going away to study it and hopes to come back some time I think.

The student in charge of the Musical asked me to play the piano this year, but Fr. Mannix has to approve it yet, which he very well might not because of other work to be done, but I don’t know.

Fr. Peter Gordon said that he saw you when he was travelling on the bus to Chch. You were apparently on the way up here and he saw you at Otaki. He also saw Leo and spoke to him when he called into Silverstream after Ordination.

The three students who went to Silverstream for two weeks teaching are back. Two of them took Leo’s dorm one night and they talked to him there. Has Leo made any remarks about it?

The three who were at Wellington College returned yesterday. They said they saw you (Dad) out the front – they wanted to call in but they were on the bus! One of them was Bro. Cody.

I saw Francie’s advert. in the Dominion. Also the article about the retiring President of Rotary.

I got a card from Terry Banner yesterday.

Well, I think that that is all the news.

Love from

P.S. Brother Andrew has spent weeks building a run and house for his turkeys. No matter what he does they won’t enter the house. Not even for food! He has locked them up for several days in it, but they still stay in the run. Have you any remedies?


Bare Island, Waimarama

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