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Three octogenarian campers

Bette Cosgrove

Between them they have over 240 years of camping experience. Adrienne, Jean & Carolyn.

Jean Roger, 88yrs old.

I grew up in UK, in South End on Sea. Being born across the road from the beach, I lived alongside thousands of holidaymakers.

They arrived in NZ in 1957 and couldn’t afford holidays so they went camping.

62 years ago, and with our infant son Peter, we first went camping as a family. We shoved all the stuff in the work Vanguard station wagon and loaded paint sheet, broom handles, nails as pegs, ball of string, with a grey blanket safety-pinned on as a screen. Slept in the back of the vehicle.

They had to disengage the horn because 3 yr old Peter slept across the front seat, and would put his foot on the horn in the night.

Sisters, Carolyn and Adrienne

Adrienne Leslie, age 86

My earliest camping memory was at age 4, October 6, 1943, with Ngati Porou on the marae at Ruatoria in the historic presentation of the VC medal to 2nd Lt Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa Ngarimu, posthumously, at a massive hui of 7,000 people presided over by Sir Apirana Ngata. We slept on the whare floor with all the local kids. There were 1200 children at the event.

Her Father, Thomas Houston, Govt Inspector of Health who spoke fluent te reo, pointed out his Excellency, the Governor-General, Sir Cyrill Newall and the Prime Minister, Rt Hon Peter Fraser in the back of big black cars.

I remember amazing kapa haka and waiata performed by hundreds of beautiful dancers. I remember I was told it was one of the most important events I would ever attend in my life …

and it was in fact reported at the time as one of the largest and most fully documented Māori gatherings ever held. This ceremony doubled as a tribute to the magnificent part played by the Māori Battalion in all the operations of the Second New Zealand Division, as well as acting as a form of public mourning for the fact that no bodies had been returned to New Zealand.

For Adrienne it was unforgettable

The war was on so no tents, and couldn’t get anything.

Carolyn Moore, aged 82

Began camping at age 5 or 6.

We went with Mum and Dad in a borrowed tent, and camped on the Buller at Gowan Bridge, because Mum ’n Dad loved dry-fly trout fishing. Our tents were mouldy and leaked like a sieve and we had to pack up and leave. Absolutely miserable; and have had many miserable camps over the years. We slept in the car half the time.

We never went into campgrounds, finding river bank sites, on football fields, a pickers hut near Motueka, so always wild camping. All over NZ.

We always had a spade to dig holes. One for the long drop, and one for the rubbish.

Lake Mavora was a three week stint in the rain, most memorable. Camped alongside the river, outside the old homestead which is gone now.

As an adult they took their infant son camping.

Drove the Jowett Javelin, which I still own. We loaded up with a Farmers green and brown canvas tent, cot, high chair, and travelled up to the far north at Taipa. The tent was handed down from our parents-in-law who had used it at little Oneroa on their land in Waiheke.

We eventually graduated to a caravan.

Their legacy has been passed down through the generations, to great-grand children in the family, who now camp at All Points Camping Club.

Passed down camping gear: food safe, table, basin. The caravan behind was built by Adrienne’s father (it appears in Issue 2 and is profiled in Issue 5.)

Grandad's grandad's Caravan (Issue 5)

Freedom camping (Issue 3)

river bank sites, a football field, a pickers hut, wild camping all over NZ

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