Robert | Whenuapai

“I grew up in the city, Auckland City in an area called Freeman’s Bay, and I was born in 1947, couple of years after the Second World War, and it was quite a place to live.

There was good community, and still is, in that area, and then later on I shifted out of there, in ’59 just after the Harbour Bridge opened, and we shifted out to the suburbs in Penrose/Onehunga, and then we went from there to Avondale, and we’ve been in West Auckland ever since.

I value people and, and life and health as well. I’ve had a bit of bad health over the last 5-10 years. I’ve been an employee and I’ve been an employer, and one of the things I found that your best assets, as the employer is your employees. Of course that’s your people.

I spent some time out of the country. I did 12 years in the Merchant Navy, and I went to a lot of places, and I saw different cultures and how the lived, and I used to speak to your average working person, and they would be more than happy to tell me about the country and just how they live, and they showed me some of their places, where they lived, and told me what sort of work they did, and it, it wasn’t well-paid work. It was pretty hard work, and that made me thankful to live in New Zealand and, and the area, it was quite an eye-opene. I’m thankful that if I was every going to be out of work, or anything like that, I’m glad to live in New Zealand. We get a lot of support from the social services, and that’s a thing that a lot of other countries don’t have.

I live in a good community, I live on Herald Island. There’s a road going to it. It’s sort of like Singapore or Galveston, you know? There’s a road going to it, but it wasn’t like that many years ago I think in the ‘40s, early ‘50s; the only way of getting to Herald Island was by boat, and then a little bit down the line, I think it was early ‘50s they saw about putting a causeway in, and I think the first one was a private one. It was pretty rough and ready, and then the Council or Government, they took it over and they improved it, and it’s a two-lane road, and you’ve got water either side of you.

It’s a good community, because it’s a community of different cultures, and also there’s a mix of professionals, semi-professionals and working people. There’s unemployed, young children, um older people like myself, and whenever we see each other we always say hello good morning/good evening.”

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