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Story competition shortlist

We are proud to announce the shortlist for the Collective Holiday Memories story competition includes: Diane Bargas Rees – A Night Encounter Hayley Barrett – Summer Storm Steve Cassidy – Fifty-four years of happy memories at Tahuna Beach Jude and Dave Coursey – A lifetime of Tahuna Christmas’ Evelyn Dalzell – The annual holiday argument […]

Ro Cambridge's caravan on holiday
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A Cautionary Guide to Getting Away from It All

1. There’s no such thing as getting away from it all ‘All’ is what makes life easy and keeps you warm, dry and well-nourished. ‘All’ is what makes a decent cup of coffee, retards the decay of foodstuffs and keeps your belongings stored in some kind of order. ‘All’ is also what keeps you fresh-smelling, […]

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Call of the Wild: Stories about Camping

‘Couch Stories’, in association with Collective Holiday Memories, invites you to spend a summer evening at the Tahuna Beach Holiday Park on Saturday, 11 February 2017 at Tahuna Beach Holiday Park’s Keith Hall Memorial Outdoor Theatre (known as the Amphitheatre), 70 Beach Road, Tahunanui. The theme for the night is: “Call of the Wild: Stories […]

Steve Cassidy, Larry Brown and Brent Norrie outside the camp shop in 1963
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Fifty-four years of happy memories at Tahuna Beach

When I was nine years old, my parents Ray and Dot Cassidy from Belfast who were enthusiastic caravaners, decided it was time they ventured further than the beach camps north of Christchurch. This was the beginning of annual family holiday treks to Tahuna Beach Holiday Park. There was always much excitement when it was time […]

Liz Gregory's family enjoying lots of jamming and free entertainment at Tahuna Beach Holiday Park
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How to waste time productively at Tahuna

How do we fill three weeks of camping? We love the days at the camp where we just laze around and go nowhere at all! We swim surprisingly infrequently but there are plenty of other reasons to head to the beach. Graham tries to catch a fish sometimes (reasonably unsuccessfully), and we often take an […]

Liz Gregory would never consider staying at Tahuna Beach Holiday Park in anything other than a tent
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To tent or not to tent

It’s never been an option for us. We are Tahuna tenters all the way. There’s something about the smell of a tent, year after year. There’s something about being able to hear the morning plane and the welcome over the load speaker. There’s something about the anxiety during periods of high wind or rainfall, where […]

During the honeymoon, Liz and her husband bought a little two-child dingy and proceeded to row across to Haulashore Island
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Honeymoon & Lord of the Rings

Early on in our relationship, my husband recognised the importance I placed on the annual pilgrimage to Tahuna, and fortunately he also enjoys the experience. So through thick and thin, we go to Nelson and seldom leave before our allotted time is up. But three times out of the last 20, we almost didn’t have, […]

Newman's bus (sourced from http://nzrailwaysrollingstocklists.weebly.com/newmans.html)
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60 years of memories

Our memories of Tahuna begin in 1956 with our parents, Herb and Hazel Pattinson, taking us on a Newman’s bus to spend Christmas holidays in a old caravan at the park close to where number four kitchen is now. While we were in Nelson that year, Dad brought the first family car and a tent […]

Wading across the back beach estuary at sunset
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A night encounter

A couple of years ago, after a great Christmas at home in Christchurch, we decided to top it off with a few days of relaxation at Tahuna, our favourite camp ground. We knew we would find great facilities and beautiful scenery there. However we also looked forward to making new friends, and the possibility of […]

The Great Benyon featured in the 6 February 1971 edition of The Nelson Mail (courtesy Nelson Photo News)
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Magic memories

Growing up in Ashburton as the youngest of five, I made pocket money for being a nuisance to my older sisters whose boyfriends paid me to stay away! My family and our neighbours travelled to Nelson and Tahuna beach for our annual Christmas holiday. Our caravan, driven by Mum was towed by a PAX Vauxhall […]

Tahuna Beach races in Dec 1965
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A lifetime of Tahuna Christmas’

Jude: My connection with Tahuna began as a young child when my parents decided to start camping in ‘M’ block after staying in the Lodge Motels, which backed onto the camp with a gate into the camp. Family friends called the Bollands were camped at Tahuna and would visit us and Mum and Dad decided […]

All the little cousins enjoying the Tahuna Beach whale
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Cousins camp at Tahuna

My story starts approximately eight years ago. My granddaughter said to me: “Why don’t we have a Cousins Camp?” I had my eldest grandchild aged about 12 in the car with me and we heard a lady on the radio, from America, talk about how she and her husband were having a ‘Cousins Camp’, so […]

Francie Osborn camping at Tahuna Beach in 1955
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Childhood memories of holidays in Nelson

I was two years old and my sister was five when, back in 1953, our family made the first long car trip from Ashburton to Nelson – a tradition that continued for many years, with a trailer behind the car packed high with all the camping gear. Our tent was a motor tent (green roof, […]

Camping holidays with her family are one of Lilly Walkenhorst's favourite things
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Our family tradition

Our family has a tradition of saying our good and bad things at the end of each day while we sit at the dinner table. Frequently, my good things are about special memories of camping or me counting down the days until we next go camping. My absolute favourite thoughts are our family camping holidays […]

John Freeman's campsite in the 1950s
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Camping in the 1950s

In 1953 we travelled over Arthurs Pass to the Glaciers, where it rain most days. Next was camp was at Punakiki for three nights and then onto Tahuna to dry out out tent and ourselves, and it was at Tahanua Beach Camping ground that we caught up with the news about the terrible accident at Tangiwai […]

Warren and Bev Jackson
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Then and now at Tahuna Beach

The Jackson family decided to start having family holidays at Tahuna Holiday Camp in the 1950s. Every Christmas the car and trailer would be packed up for two to three weeks of fun in the sun. The tent, canvas stretchers, food, Tilly lamp, clothes, games, etc were all packed, with not a inch of room […]

Bonfire on the back beach in 2014
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Back beach bonfire

Keryn Cawood has been coming to Tahuna Beach for 30 years, over the Christmas and New Year period, with extended family and friends – camping on the same sites every time. She says she wouldn’t change it for the world. This photo was taken on the back beach behind the camp on the last night before they all […]

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Story prompts

Do you want to share your holiday memories – and be in the running to win a share of $8000 in prizes in the Collective Holiday Memories competition – but aren’t quite sure what to write about? Here’s a few prompts to help you get started: 1. How does your daily routine change when you […]

Flooding at Tahuna Beach Holiday Park back in 1986
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Summer Storm

At first it was just a rumble in the distance that barely disturbed the quiet summer night. I needed to go to the toilet block, but I wasn’t going anywhere with that strange noise around. I squeezed my eyes shut and shuffled further into my sleeping bag. Perhaps if I ignored it, it would go […]

This is the back beach, just behind the camp. It was one of many hot, calm evenings this past summer in Nelson. Took the kids for a walk along the beach before bed and they spent ages watching the tiny fish swimming around their feet at sunset.
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Sunset in paradise

Hayley Barrett has been coming to Tahuna Beach Holiday Park every Christmas since 1978 when she was three years old. She started bringing her husband twenty years ago and now they bring their children who look forward to their summer caravan holiday all year, the same way she did when she was a kid (and still does now!)

Sofia has been coming to Tahuna Beach on holidays since she was six weeks old
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Etched in sand

Julia Daly’s father has holidayed at Tahuna Beach for 60 years and first brought her along when she was only six weeks only. She is now 33 years old and brings her own children. Sofia is four and first came at six weeks and Henry first holidayed at Tahuan when he was only two weeks old.

The Hortin family campsite in 1955
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Free entertainment by the beach

I was two years old and my sister was five when, back in 1953, our family made the first long car trip from Ashburton to Nelson – a tradition that continued for many years, with a trailer behind the car packed high with all the camping gear. Our tent was a motor tent (green roof, […]

Marion Whyte & Paul Dayman in their courtyard at Tahuna Beach Holiday Park
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Inspired Living 

“We live here out of inspiration, not desperation.” So declares long-time permanent camp resident Paul Dayman who lives with his partner Marion Whyte in an area of the camp its residents call The Heights. Looking west across the camp towards the snow-capped Mt Arthur Range, home is a comfortable caravan and insulated annexe, with a […]

Walking back to the tent after having a fun time on the beach February 2015
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The happy followers

Ayumi Murdoch’s image, titled “The happy followers”, is the July Photo of the Month in the Collective Holiday Memories competition. Ayumi, her husband, son (now nine years old) and daughter (now 12) have been camping at Tahuna Beach over the summer holidays every year since 2009.

Went for evening walk on the beach and we found a stage for dancing, December 2014
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It’s show time

Ayumi Murdock is a 45 year old mother of two children. “My husband, kids and I have spent the Christmas holidays at Tahuna Beach every year since 2009. We enjoy camping, swimming, fishing and playing holiday park activities.”

Ro Cambridge filming on the back beach at Tahuna
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Dog beach a delight

Ro Cambridge moved to Nelson in her 50s and has never camped at Tahuna. However, she says the ‘back beach’ – a place where dogs and their owners are allowed to run free – is a delight.

Izaak aged 15 months old on tractor ride at Tahuna Beach
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Family holiday

Michelle Betts has been camping at Tahuna Beach Holiday Park for the last seven years with her kids Izaak and Tyler and parents. Izaak and Grandad used to love the tractor rides around the camping ground.

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The annual holiday argument

My first memories of holidaying at Tahuna Beach Camp start in the 1940s. We lived in a small coal mining town on the West Coast and every year for our annual holidays we came up to Tahuna for a month. It seemed like most of our street in Dunollie came too, plus many others from […]

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Awesome holiday memories

As the summer holidays got closer each year, preparations for a long stay at Tahunanui Camp would begin, including packing the caravan with what we would need for the holiday. I was primary school age when we started camping here and would count the days down until we hooked the caravan up and set off […]

Jessica Milne's daughter's favourite thing to do at the camping ground try all the fitness stops
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Our first camping trip as a family

Two years ago my family and I had an amazing first camping trip away as family. It was my daughter and partner’s first time camping trip ever, all of us had so much fun with all the activities available at the Tahuna Beach. My daughter was initially so scared of the water slide but as […]

Coursey family
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Home away from home for 56 years

A dark blue wave intersects with patches of blue and silver in the striking custom paint job that adorns the sides of Jude and Dave Coursey’s caravan, which they inherited back in 1997 from Jude’s father. The 25-foot home on wheels now serves as “caravan central” for Jude and Dave’s extended family during the three […]

The extended Harris family at Tahuna Beach
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Without a care in the world

Walter Nash was prime minister of New Zealand when Diane Harris’ family first embarked on the road trip from Ashburton to Nelson on Boxing Day in 1958. At the time, the road up the coast via Kaikoura was only gravel. Diane’s family made the journey in a Humber 80, towing a trailer full of camping […]

Crowd at Tahuna Beach photo courtesy Nelson Provincial Museum
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How is the beach a symbol of your childhood?

“For many New Zealanders the beach is the essence of the Kiwi dream – the sun, the space, the physical beauty and the sense of a relaxed escape into nature. Easy and free access to the beach has been seen as a national birthright. The beach is considered to be the place to go for […]

Graphic showing changing shoreline at Tahunanui
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Sand dunes on the move

When we consider beaches as permanent features, problems can arise. We build roads, playgrounds and businesses on sand dunes and estuary lands – and in the case of Tahunanui, have established an iconic recreational asset – on places that are actually on the move. 1930 to Present Day Since 1935 it has been possible to […]

Tahunanui Beach Gala, 1 February 1915. Nelson Provincial Museum Collection: C289.
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History over the decades

Maori history Maori first settled around the Waimea Inlet over 600 years ago. Successive tribes made their camps and settlements on the coast and islands. One of the oldest of these camps was located near the junction of Bisley Avenue and Rocks Road (then at the edge of the Waimea Inlet). Nestled in sand dunes […]

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Geologically young beach

Tahunanui Beach did not exist when Nelson was settled by Europeans. What is now the beach was once mudflat near the edge of the main channel draining the Waimea Inlet. It has taken a mere 100 years for Tahunanui Beach to build, with sands from Tasman Bay. Such is the nature of beaches and coastal […]