Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Living Memory

I've wanted to do a this particular photo shoot for awhile after reading about it in one of my photo magazines.  A "Living Memory" photo is a photo within a photo or in my case a photo within a photo within a photo.

Our family lived on the Hawkes Bay Hospital Board farm for over 20 years, Dad managed their dairy & pig farm located on the outskirts of Napier. Apart from the first two years of my life Park Island was my childhood home & I have many fond memories of farm life.

Before the devastating 1931 Napier earthquake, Park Island was a home for the "indigent elderly" run by the Napier Hospital & Charitable Aid Board. Over 100 people lived in the many buildings and worked in the gardens of the home on the hill. Most of these buildings collapsed during the quake, our farmhouse, once a manager's home was one of only a few that were left standing.

Here are some photos from the time; this first one is of the home & gardens taken in 1920. The house on the far right is the gardeners cottage & was another house that was left standing after the quake. The shell of the cottage became the farm's barn. Our farm house can't be seen here but it's located towards the back left below the dark row of trees.

Park Island Rest Home circa 1920

And this is immediately after the 1931 'quake, our farm house can now be seen, left standing amongst the devastation.

The Home was never rebuilt, the land was cleared and it became the farm that I grew up on.

In 1975 the local newspaper took a photo of my mother holding the first photo above. She was standing in the spot where it had originally been taken 55 years earlier. You can now see the gardener's cottage (barn) to the right and our farmhouse which by now had a veranda added to it, in the background. We're not sure what the purpose of the newspaper photo was.

Park Island Farm circa 1975
By 1980 the farm was sold to the Napier City Council, the outer suburbs were creeping closer to the hills of Wharerangi & Park Island. Down on the flat the farm land was being developed into sports fields for the ever expanding city. The two council cemeteries beside the farm were full and the city wanted Park Island for its new Western Hills Cemetery. I'd left home by then & Dad retired from being a farmer and my parents moved into town.

Which brings me back to my photo shoot. I wanted to take a photo of Mum holding the above photo in exactly the same place again. A photo of a photo of a photo. 38 years between the middle photo & this one & 93 years in total between the first & last photos.

Here is the result and there's our old house still in the background but now partly hidden by trees.

Park Island 2013

And here are some more photos taken from Park Island, this is looking out towards Napier City & the Airport & Ahuriri Estuary. Before the 'quake all this land was six foot under the ocean, that is why Park Island was called an Island, the sea came right up to the cliffs below.


Park Island- Western Hills Cemetery

There used to be a wooden tepee shaped trig station on this spot, it's now been upgraded to a concrete pillar. You can't swing on the cross bars anymore :(


  1. Love the photo of your Mum! I spent a few school camps at Lake Tutira and remember the falls you were talking about.

    1. Thanks Rach, Mum enjoyed the photo shoot even those it was a little strange doing it in a cemetery! :) We will have to make it to Shine Falls next time we're in the Bay.

  2. Hi Shelley,
    I loved seeing the photos of Park Island and your Mum. That was a trip down memory lane. Hope you parents are well. Sorry if I've spelled your name wrong.
    Joanne Dassler

    1. Hi there stranger! Now that was a surprise, a lovely surprise to hear from you. Must be 40+ years, where are you living now, children? grandchildren? Mum & Dad will be thrilled to know you've been in touch. Funny how you stumble across things on the net isn't it.


Thank you for taking the time to leave a message, I love reading them! All comments are personally moderated by me and I will post and answer them as soon as possible, Shellie