This is Jim. Although born in Woodville, he spent much of his life in the Paraparaumu area.

Jim remembers a carefree growing up, where as kids they had free reign to experiment, to create their own fun and have adventures. He has some special memories including the development of the airport in 1939 and digging rooms out of the sandhills with the whole structure collapsing at one point and narrowly missing him. I asked him what he learned from this experience and his answer was short and to the point.

“Not to do it again”.


He recalls making other rooms in the sides of hay bales and having the bright idea of lighting the inside with candles.

There are memories of big, open fields filled with corn and sweet turnips where as kids they helped themselves. His childhood was one of adventure where .he was free to roam, try things out and make mistakes. There was no technology as such, no video games or internet to distract a boy from the great outdoors.

He remembers the American GI’s coming and how he and his mates “helped” their manoeuvres by selectively removing barbed wire to be later used as runner bean supports in their veggie gardens!

His family also kept chickens and even had a “house cow” without which they would not have had butter through the war years.

Jim was a hard working man, with most of his career in the the telephone exchange and despite moving around the country a bit in this role he regards Paraparaumu as the greatest place to live.
Jim was one of the founding members of the Volunteer Fire Service, rising to the rank of Deputy Chief. He recalls that the only water supply was on board the truck and when it ran out there was nothing more that could be done to save houses from burning down. Nevertheless he enjoyed being part of something and helping others.

He met his wife Val and next year they will have been married an enormous 60 years. The secret of this longevity he puts down to being best friends and doing things together. They shared a passion for dancing (ballroom) and their love grew out of attending many of the dances held at the local clubs and societies. The dedication they have for each other is still evident, even after all this time. They have children and grandchildren, all doing well in life.

What would Jim say to other men coming through?

“Work hard and enjoy what you do”.

Thanks Jim