Photo stories

Meet the locals

Making Friends with Honey Flower

Julia Wawrzyniak recently opened Honey Flower & Friends in a tiny gallery at the end of the Holtom Building. Her philosophy encompasses nature and organic processes, along with working in a collective.

Remembering Tony Taylor

Michael O’Leary has written a fitting tribute to Tony Taylor, a man of great enthusiasm, knowledge, compassion and integrity.

The Perching Parrot takes on Dark Horse

The Perching Parrot cafe has been part of Paekākāriki village life for almost a decade. Nicole Duke shares her coffee journey and why she switched to local coffee roaster, Dark Horse.

The Sea Goddesses

Taking inspiration from the incredible Paekākāriki Mermaids, the Sea Goddesses take the plunge to shake off the demands of daily life.

Picturing our Changing World

Paekākāriki’s Felix Pharand Deschênes is playing a major role in helping define the visual narrative of the Anthropocene — the age we are now said to inhabit, a time when we as humans are exerting more influence over the planet’s environment than any other element.

The Paekākāriki Mermaids

All over the world, people are taking to frigid seas, lakes and rivers ‘like fish to water’. Paekākāriki has a couple of brave groups that swim in the sea all year round. This article profiles The Paekākāriki Mermaids.

Haere rā Trish

‘It was fitting that our beloved Trish Delaney had the last laugh when we farewelled her in true Paekākāriki fashion under a full sun and a super blood moon. We heard her laugh and her cheery voice boom out through St Peter’s Hall after the many tributes had been made.’ Julia Truscott writes a beautiful tribute about our beloved village member, Trish Delaney.

Poipoia te kakano kia puawai

Holly Ewens hands over the editor reins to Nik Bullard. She tells us how far has come during her two year tenure.

Hanging up her hat

Holly Jane Ewens is to step down from her role as Paekākā coordinating editor. A heartfilled thank you from many of us.

Nothing humdrum about Hilary

Much more than just a Paekākāriki personality, Hilary Baxter was also a poet. Judith Galtry writes of a life troubled by mental health issues and the shadow of her father.

The opportunity to serve – Philip Edwards

While many were celebrating the end of 2020, Paekākāriki farewelled its previous Community Board Chair – the inimitable Philip Edwards. Well-known to Bowling Club regulars and councillors alike, he is remembered for his inclusive style, his penchant for jandals, and most of all his commitment to this community and to his family. We share with you the tribute from Deputy Mayor Janet Holborow and current Community Board Chair Holly Ewens, read at his service at St Peter’s Hall on New Year’s Eve 2020, alongside other tributes.

2020: a year in flags

From global warming and Covid flags to recently departed friends and berating Netflix, Paekākāriki local Keith Johnson’s choice of a remarkable range of flags often comments cleverly on issues. Flown from a flagpole on the northern edge of the Kāpiti village, he shares the reasons behind his 2020 selections.

Bringing us sunshine

From working alongside international greats like Sir Laurence Olivier and Dame Maggie Smith during the formation of British modern theatre, to heading Downstage Theatre and developing drama in education, Paekākāriki resident Sunny Amey has helped shape live theatre in Aotearoa New Zealand as we know it today. Now in her nineties and still treading the boards, Sylvia Bagnall looks back on Sunny’s extraordinary career, with images from her archive.

Part rockstar, part poet. A birthday blessing.

Ahead of his celebrations this weekend, Dunedin-based writer, Kay McKenzie Cooke celebrates a ‘significant birthday’ for much-loved poet and independent publisher Michael O’Leary aka the Earl of Seacliff.

Daisy Wood: Plants by name, plants by nature

It’s only natural that Daisy Wood is passionate about medicinal herbs – both her names are from the plant world. The degree-trained medical herbalist and naturopath has a specialty interest in women’s health. Using herbs to heal, she turns plants into delicious teas and soothing tinctures.

Born with railways in her blood: Christine Johnson

This week we acknowledge the departure of a quiet yet significant contributor to the Paekākariki community; Christine Johnson. Friend Michael O’Leary tells us about the rich rail history of Christine’s life and the indelible mark she leaves both within the community and on the station platform.

Plant sale legend steps down

After 7-8 years managing the growing and selling of thousands of plants each year through the gardening group Potty Potters, gardening enthusiast Tina Pope hands over the secateurs.

A decade of deli goodness

Celebrating ten years on Paekākāriki’s main drag, the Beach Road Deli is – thanks to Covid-19 – overdue a party. We talk to the Deli’s dynamic owners Kelly Rees and Rebecca Robati-Busby.

Peter Rankin: Haere rā to a revolutionary thinker

‘We talk about economic development as though it’s just about extracting more resources out of the ground or out of the farm or out of the trees. But that’s not how it will work. It’s about finding the riches in our people and enabling them to fulfil their potential.’

Seizing the moment for change: Dr Mike Joy

Beyond the upcoming election, how can all citizens contribute to a vision for change? The Better Futures Forum has been founded by Paekākāriki’s Dr Mike Joy (a well known freshwater advocate) and a core group of others to seize this moment of opportunity for change nationally.

Winter wellness with Daisy Wood

Herbalist and naturopath Daisy Wood on winter wellness and life in Paekākāriki. Interviewed on Te Pae, Paekakariki 88.2FM with Mark Amery and Sylvia Bagnall, July 2020. Daisy is part of Winter Wellness and Homegrown Health, Paekākāriki School 2pm Sunday 2 August.

Hearts all day long

Sarah Bainbridge on her work as an essential worker in a Wellington hospital during lockdown

Remembering Florrie: Florence Louisa Ward

Paekākāriki resident Florrie Ward passed away on 19th March 2020 aged 103. Her daughters, Claire Pinfold and Ronda Thompson, share with us her extraordinary life and character.


We’re bent but we’re not broken!

Although 2021’s Paekākāriki Pride festivities have been cancelled due to Level 2, the newly formed Paekākāriki Pride Inc Committee is determined to connect and celebrate people for pride. Val Little lets us know what is happening and how you can be involved.

Growing Green Tamariki at Paekākāriki School

Hannah Zwartz, long-time Paekākāriki School parent, member of the School Garden Group and Potty Potters, talks about an exciting new project coming up at our kura along with the year-long work done to support the school’s gardening curriculum.

Our Community Bought Another House

The community of Paekākāriki have bought a second house to provide housing for local whānau. Mark Amery reports on the Paekākāriki Housing Trust’s activities from their recent annual hui.

Kia Kaha Burma, with love from Paekākāriki

Paekākāriki, amongst many stand-out qualities, is likely the smallest town outside Burma to have its own support group. KT Julian tells us about this group’s important mahi and her personal experience of living there.

In Praise of…Helpers!

St Peter’s Hall recently held their annual fundraising Book Fair. And it couldn’t be done without the help of all the volunteers! Ian Clark from the Paekākāriki Community Trust pays tribute to you all.

Get Hitched

Hitch is an exciting new carbon-reducing commuting scheme starting up in Wellington. Paekākāriki has been chosen to trial this car-sharing initiative and you can be part of it.

A small village makes a big impact in Nepal

When a quake devastated communities in Nepal in 2015, a small Kāpiti Coast community on the other side of the world responded and support from this community keeps on flowing.

Paekākāriki advances north!

Making use of the land you already have becomes a keen issue nationwide as the availability of property becomes more difficult. In Paekākāriki the community has begun making better use of grounds they have access to – a strip of land between the village’s northern boundary and the Paekākāriki Holiday Park.

From retreat to revival: shifting a leading surf club

Coastal communities and surf lifesaving clubs around New Zealand now face more risk from climate change and sea-level rise. In Paekākāriki, one of the country’s oldest surf clubs is vulnerable – its boat ramp collapsed in last Spring’s storms. But this club is turning retreat into opportunity, as it consults on plans to install a new building inland.

Cycling to recycling: turning food scraps into community gold

Bikes are increasingly seen on Paekākāriki’s streets, and eco-initiatives are also on the rise. But a different kind of cycling has just been introduced – Pae Cycle, an inventive scheme where food scraps are delivered to the community garden by a sleek black e-bike.

The Waikākāriki Wetland restoration

Nestled between State Highway One and the railway line at Paekākāriki, is a 1.6 hectare sliver of land that, with the help of Ngā Uruora and community volunteers, is emerging from invasive weeds to shine as an ecological treasure. Featuring a project by Paekakariki School students, Ana and Audrey, Andy McKay fills us in on where we can find it, how we can help, and why wetlands are vital.

Bubble breakout!

A beautiful record of a community day and night 20 June at St Peters Hall Paekākāriki by photographer Bob Zuur with an array of musical talent and words from Gilbert Haisman. This night saw the hall’s new floorboards given a thorough test. Here, we take the chance to remember a few of our people in words and images.

A lovely seaside haven for rodents

It’s that time of year in New Zealand when mice and rats move in and share our bubbles as they seek warmth. That means, says Maree White, its time for us to work together on being predator free. Paekākāriki has long taken a lead with likely the first backyard trapping group anywhere in New Zealand.

Stronger together: What communities can do in the Covid-19 crisis

From Italy’s ‘Listen to Your Grandmother’ campaign and Bristol’s Mothers Turned Drug Runners to RongoCare in the tiny village of Rongotea, Louise Thornley has been researching great NZ and international community responses to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Commercial Vehicle Safety Centre proposed for Emerald Glen Road

NZ Transport Agency’s plan for a souped-up version of a truck weigh station, planned for land at the start of Emerald Glen Road, has hit some wobbles as locals and the Paekākāriki Community Board express their disappointment at the lack of consultation.

Creative non-fiction

Sometimes I need solitude, sometimes a village

For many, keeping on top of our mental health is a daily battle. To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, Dani Deluka shares a pilgrimage to reconnect with her roots in order to stand strong.

Driftwood bridges

Dani Deluka about reaching across water to touch those we can’t and how a village can help get us to the other side.


A century of service

It’s the end of an era for the ‘oldest garage on the coast’. Owner Chris Clarke is retiring and the building has been sold to a Waikanae-based collective responsible for restaurants, a bakery and craft brewery.

Paekākāriki Progress: community media 70 years ago

Found under the house of Paekākāriki’s former chemist Mr Bill Carson during lockdown, is a 1950 copy of a fortnightly community newspaper, Paekākāriki Progress. This is what a community website or newspaper (shades of Paekakariki Xpressed 2000-2010) looked like 70 years ago. With its hand-drawn masthead, typed, printed and stapled, it fulfils many of the same functions: events, a directory of services, local body politics, news from community groups.

Diamond in the rough: One Eye Gallery

New Zealand’s regions are full of galleries representing the work of local artists. Rarer outside the cities are contemporary art dealers representing the often more challenging work of artists nationally. From 1997-2004 in Paekākāriki, was a quite brilliant exception: One Eye Gallery. Just north of the Wellington art scene, highly regarded painter Gary Freemantle operated a satellite. He mixed an ever startling array of art outsiders and locals – work of quality from elsewhere but little seen in Wellington – and artists already of repute trialling new ways of working, like Don Driver, Joanna Margaret Paul, Rob Cherry and Hariata Ropata-Tangahoe.

Paekākāriki Xpressed 2001-2011

An award-winning community newspaper we consider, with total bias, to be one of the finest ever printed. Paekakariki Xpressed editor Don Polly here reflects on those who contributed to a paper which informed and entertained Paekākāriki households for a decade.

The last years of the Paekākāriki Pub

‘Photographs like these are traitors to the fact that we easily forget.’ Mark Amery kicks off a series dedicated to the stories of the infamous Paekākāriki Pub with a photo essay by Andrew Ross.

We are failing the Wainui

When it rains hard a treasured Kāpiti Coast waterway, Wainui Stream turns very brown. Home to some of the best native fish biodiversity in the Wellington region the stream, says freshwater ecologist and advocate Mike Joy, has long been abused. It is now likely being damaged by Transmission Gully work upstream after measures requested by the Environmental Protection Agency were not put in place.

In 50 years' time


Council “sideswipes” planned seawall design

Kāpiti Coast District Council has done an about-turn on the proposed design and build of the critical Paekākāriki seawall, believes design group member and resident Bride Coe.

Paekākāriki Pride Festival: gone to the dogs

“It’s caused a bit of controversy. Some people felt quite strongly that they couldn’t possibly dress their dogs in the same outfit twice in one weekend, so we’re encouraging them to either find new outfits or chuck on the same one and teach their dog a new trick or two.”

Official Stuff Stories

Community boards are the flax roots of communities – have your say

Community boards are a key way for Councils to keep in touch with the flax roots of the communities they represent. Kāpiti Coast Councillors want to uproot this. Paekākāriki Community Board chair Holly Ewens shares her thoughts on proposed changes that will affect how these boards operate.

Trace, travel safe and educate

If we can learn anything from the current situation in Auckland, it is to heed the advice of officials and to not presume any of us are exempt from either contracting the Covid-19 virus or spreading it. Neither is our village immune – with many of us commuting into Wellington and travelling to Auckland, it’s a good idea to remember we all need to do our bit to keep the community safe – even when it’s an inconvenience, writes Community Board Chair, Holly Ewens.


Autumn 1943 Paekākāriki

A story by Dani Deluka paying tribute to a little cottage once used as a Catholic refuge for young pregnant girls.