One of the biggest changes in Orewa is that from the late 1950s-1980s there were a lot more children’s entertainment facilities and far less shops, cafés and restaurants.
A roller-skating rink, marineland, two mini golfs and theatre were all popular attractions for summer visitors.
Where the volleyball courts are now, on Orewa Reserve, there was a skating rink and the original mini golf. These were built in 1957 by Bev and Rex Flavell, of Orewa, who decided the youth needed something to do (the resident population was 500 at the time). Roller skating competitions were held every summer.
There was also a ‘sound shell’ stage beside the mini golf, which hosted concerts with performers such as Howard Morrison and Ray Columbus.
All three were demolished in 1982/3.
Another popular mini golf, on Western Reserve, was built in the late 1960s and removed by Auckland Council in 2008 despite community protest.
Movies on the move
The original cinema and theatre was built in the 1940s where Citizens Advice Bureau is now. This was moved in the 1970s to beside the Centreway Road dairy to be used as a community building and in 1990/91 it was moved again, by Keith Morris, and became part of the HBC Youth Centre in Western Reserve.
The next theatre was built in Florence Avenue in 1966 and is now home to Marshall Gallery and Bayleys.
The United Players (now Centrestage Theatre) performed in both theatres from 1959 to 1984 and the current Centrestage Theatre was built in 1991.
Much of this information comes courtesy of Destination Orewa Beach, which is conducting ongoing research into the area’s history. If you have information or images to share, please contact them on 09 426 2638.
Orewa’s Marineland was started by the Horobin family in 1968, at the site where Estuary Arts is now. It was home to a monkey and many marine animals such as sealions, and a sea elephant which regularly escaped and was seen swimming in Orewa Estuary. Sadly the family home in the grounds burned down in 1977. Shortly after, Mr Horobin died in a car accident and Marineland closed down in 1978. Pictured is Leonie Horobin, 1977.