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Prize-giving dance salvaged by stonemason

by 30 Jan 2018Regatta 20180 comments

Northener and Thelma

Tribute Paid to Photographers’ Skippers: Often employed positioning photographer Lyn Bergquist in exactly the right spot for the definitive Mahurangi Regatta image, photography’s loss was the Mahurangi Regatta prize giving and dance’s gain, on Saturday, when Bruce Trethewey selflessly righted and cleaned nine regatta toilets. Here the Northerner eclipses Thelma, designed six decades earlier, and some might say, including in elegance. The Thelma, nevertheless, did two places better across the line. image Lyn Bergquist

Since the Mahurangi Regatta Ball, in 2004when it had been suggested that a restroom trailer would be more suitable than builder’s toilets, given the ball format, it has been the dream to have salubrious toilets. To be unabashedly sexist, where the women can chat and check their makeup, amidst nicely arranged cut flowers, and the men can patronise a collegial and sanitary pissoir, rather than turn the forest edge into a smelly and problematic no-woman’s land.

This year, two small steps were taken towards the goal of more civilised toileting. One involved relocating the massed potable toilets to the farther along the coastal terrace. Due to the suppliers’ employee not bothering to look at the site plan provided, the toilets were dropped in same place they were last year, and the year before that, requiring the Teak Construction team—there to build the stages—to manhandle them to a better position, but one that was just short of the optimal position designed to maximise the use of flat or gentling sloping grassed area for picnicking.

Swinging on Prism’s boom

Not Only Toilets Were Pushed Over: The falling tide caught several craft anchored in shoal water. Alas, miscalculation cannot be blamed for 10 regatta and 3 public toilets that were capsized in the early hours of Saturday, and, one, set fire to. Here, crew of the Prism climb clamber onto her boom, in an effort to heel her over sufficiently to lift her keel clear of bottom. image Braden Wynyard

The other step was the successful, after several failed past attempts, to hire, and have delivered, a men’s urinal.

So far would have been so good, had not a marauding gang of, presumably well-liquored, young men—and this is pure supposition on the part of the writer—take umbrage with the three, stinking, portable toilets that Auckland Council has ‘maintained’ at Scotts Landing, since falling afoul of its own permitting process and closed the public toilets there. The backdrop of rival, stinking and overflowing rubbish receptacles almost certainly inflamed the misguided call to arms against the toilets.

From there, the supposition continues, the adrenalin-charged marauders spread out along the beach in search of more of the enemy, only to find a veritable nest of them—portable toilets—which they routed in short order and then attempted to set fire to. Fortunately, by the time the fire appliances arrived, only one portable toilet was mortally wounded, and another—well, more about that later.

When world of the carnage finally reached the regatta organiser, mid-morning Saturday, the supplier was not able to respond. When all seemed hopeless, the organiser received a phone call from Bruce Trethewey, owner of Rose Cottage, Ridge Road, Scotts Landing, on an unrelated matter. When learning of the need for an able-bodied crew to right the ship, as it were, Bruce said:

Leave it to me; I will sort that for you!

In what seemed an impossibly short space of time, Bruce reported that all the regatta toilets had been righted, cleaned, the burnt one marked Out of Order, and a compromised one marked Boys Only.

Tu Ngutu Villa, Lane Merchandise launch

Champion of the Regional Parks: Honoured with a Queen’s Service Medal for his services to the Auckland Regional Parks—public service runs in the family, Bill’s father having gifted 3600 hectares of Great Barrier Island to the government—Bill Burrill, seated, and his wife Maggie, right, treats the FORParks committee and others to an excursion aboard the 16-metre motor yacht Boudica to privately-owned-but-open-to-the-public Rotoroa Island, pre-Christmas 2014. Bill is this year’s recipient of the John Cole Trophy, for services to the Mahurangi Regatta and its sublime regional park backdrop. image Mahurangi Magazine

With this heroic and selfless response, a milestone in the transfer of community ownership for the prize-giving dance transferred, as it so badly needed to, from Mahurangi West—the risk-taking prize-giving dance revivalists—to Scotts Landing residents, is, rightfully, complete.

The John Cole Trophy, since 2001, has been awarded for aesthetic contribution to the Mahurangi Regatta. In the article about the trophy in this season’s Mahurangi Cruising Club yearbook, recipients ranging from jazz orchestra conductors to yearbook editors to owners of beautiful yachts are listed. The last two are launch owners Harold Kidd and Bill Burrill, one for his services as a marine historian and the other to regional parks, and the regatta. In recognition of his role in feeding visitors who arrived in 2012 to find the bar, burgers and dance cancelled; in convincing the Scotts Landing community, in 2013, that the regatta after-match function was also their event—as it was emphatically, historically; in providing a speedy platform for prolific regatta photographer Lyn Bergquist, year after year; and in saving the regatta organiser’s butt this year, Bruce Trethewey will, subject to family approval, be the very well-deserved 2019 recipient of the John Cole Trophy.

And those women and girls who were, can stop wondering why one of their portable toilets was labelled Boys Only—this was the stonemason’s characteristically pragmatic solution to indicating the previous night’s vandalism had left that unit serviceable only for peeing standing up.

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