My first memory of Rotorua is when I we were moving to Tauranga from Greymouth. We had two cars, my brother and Carol travelled with Mum and Judy and I were with Dad who was towing our caravan. At an intersection Dad pulled out and Mum followed. Unfortunately, she was hit by another car. No one was hurt. Dad had to sort it out and so he left the two of us in the car at Sulphur Point behind where the new sports stadium is now. The smell was awful. Just like rotten eggs.
The next time, was in 1973. I was working at the Midland Hotel in Wellington and a couple of the aussie girls were going to Rotorua to get work. Seemed like a plan. Unfortunately the week I went a hotel burnt down so there was no work. So I went to Dad’s in Tauranga.
Marty and I went when we were first going out. It was really hot I remember and I wanted to go to one of the lakes for a swim. Unfortunately, this was during the oil crisis so there were no petrol stations open and we were running low on gas so we didn’t stop.
When I was in the early stages of my pregnancy, we went again. This time Marty took his girls. I had a class at polytech so missed all the fun. Again the smell was terrible and it certainly didn’t help my morning sickness.
I also remember taking a trip with the kids in the old van. I can’t remember what but we were celebrating something. It was bitterly cold, so cold that we had lunch in the cafe. Once lunch was over we tucked Suzanne in the van with lots of blankets and had a look around. We found this waterfall walk. We didn’t really know what we were getting ourselves into. The walk was very steep and slippery. Marty was carrying Jenni, clinging to him for dear life as we went down a ladder backwards. At one point she had her hands over his eyes. We went to the Buried Village many times over the years but we never did that walk again.
Simon loved Rotorua, We go for day trips, mostly to feed the ducks in Kuirau Park. Simon loved feeding ducks when he was little but there was no where in Tauranga to do it for free. He also loved the playground. It had a huge tank and a tractor, everything that boys love to play.
One Christmas, Jenni’s maternal grandparents picked her up on Boxing Day in a caravan straight out of the 50’s. The following day we dropped Suzanne off at IHC for a week for respite care. The next day, Simon was very quiet. We planned to go to Rotorua for a couple of days, so I was busy packing. Marty was worried that Simon was way to quiet and looked worried. He sat him down to find out what was going on. He burst into tears. He was worried we were going to send him away as well. We told him the three of us going on holiday to Rotorua.
I found a cheap cabin at the Fisherman’s Lodge at Lake Tarawera. It had bunks and was really cold and damp. The weather wasn’t much better. Despite being summer, we didn’t have a fine day. But we had a good time and more importantly, I got some well earned rest.
There was another busy year ahead.
© Barbara Hart 2014