Photo stories

Meet the locals

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.

O, poetry! O, Helen Heath!

Paekākāriki poet, Helen Heath, just won big time at the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards for her poetry collection, Are Friends Electric? Here she chats to two other local poets, Maria McMillan and daughter Lily McMillan.

Perky’s eulogy

No-one in Paekākāriki talked about ‘diversity’ in 1971 but the Perkins family soon came to epitomise it. The culture of the Middle Run family farm was right wing, left-leaning, New Age, rural, cosmopolitan, outdoors, arty, horsey, gentle, blokey, into surf life-saving, and famous for teasing humour noted for a consistent lack of tact.  The John Perkins era attracted wonderful people to our village: people who might not be like-minded―the Perkins family is incapable of being that boring―but certainly people who are, by and large, remarkably like-hearted.


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.

Children and parents learn te reo Māori together

“Tapawha whero!” yells three-year-old Hana as she proudly points to a red square on a board. She’s playing a game naming colours and shapes at Paekākāriki Playcentre with Whaea Wai Miller who visits the centre each week to help the children and their parents to practise their te reo Māori.

Giving it right back

‘In his quiet, behind-the-scenes way, he’s a very active, enthusiastic Paekākārikian, working hard for social equality. We are lucky to have him.’ Introducing our altruistic second sponsor.

Creative non-fiction

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.

Taupo Swamp

The first time I became aware of Taupo Swamp was when the Queen came to visit. A platform was erected atop a small grassy knoll beside State Highway One. From here the Queen could stand, her back to the traffic, to admire the sea of flax, and perhaps wave royally across its expanse at commuters on the Kapiti train line. My parents felt a bit sorry for her – but they were also amused.


Our house backs onto paddocks and on the other side of those paddocks part of Transmission Gully is being constructed. It’s a notorious road. One I can hardly believe is actually being built, having heard about it for as long as I can remember. I see the earthmovers and the hazard bunting during the day, and I’ve got used to the hi-vis workers clearing out the pie warmer in the local dairy, but it’s mostly at night when I feel the road advancing. Lights pulse and flash, machinery growls, and the shouting talk of workers carry across the paddocks.


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.

Scoreboards & brawls

Jenny Clarke gives us a run-down of recent celebrations of Paekākāriki’s sporting history with images by Mick Finn.

For Preservation

Jenny Clark writes about the heritage of our Paekākāriki buildings and the merit in saving them

In 50 years' time

Not everyone wears shoes

Erica Julian ponders Paekākāriki’s future and what makes us special. The first in series of stories for by residents on what we will, or could look like in 50 years time.


Te haerenga: the journey

“It takes a village, right? Thankfully, I was in one.”
An introductory editorial.