Nothing New Under The Summer Sun


Nowadays you can sometimes hear people remark that our country is ‘changing for the worse’ or that ‘things aren’t the same these days’.  However if you dig a bit back into the past it might seem these comments are little bit off the mark.

Admittedly, our nation is different to what it was 50 years ago, and camping too has undergone big changes, from basic army-style camps through to solid roofs over their heads of most in the form of a caravan.  Electricity has brought fridges, microwave ovens and (heaven forbid) television sets to take the edge off ‘roughing it’.  Indeed, for some campers these days ‘roughing it’ means running out of ice-cubes!  It does appear though that human nature has remained just the same – the following headlines and stories were printed in an Auckland newspaper in January 1965.


Twenty surf club members, in response to a call from the police, helped to restore order among a crowd of brawling youths a Waihi Beach camping ground on Saturday.  One youth was handcuffed and put in the back of a police station wagon, where he kicked out the back window.

But for the arrival of the surf club members, the fracas which followed could have developed into a very nasty accident, said Constable A. G. Major yesterday.

On Saturday Constable Major, with Constable D. A. Bruce, was making a routine patrol when a group of 12 youths drove into the ground.

The newcomers ranged in age from 18 to 22.  “Two of the youths began a scuffle which developed into a fight and I stepped in to make an arrest,” said Constable Major.  “By this time there was a crowd of between 200 and 300 people watching.”

Tent Came Down
Constable Major had to wrestle with the youth.  “It must have been quite a sight,” he said, “because the tent came down.  “When we were getting ready to go to the police station there was an angry milling mass about us and we did not know what would happen.”

Constable Major, himself a member of the Waihi Beach Surf Life Saving Club, asked a bystander to get the club members to come to help.  “They were wonderful,” he said.
Within two minutes they were there.  We soon found as well that the public was right behind us.

The behaviour of two young men and their confederates was calculated to disturb and ruin the holidays of decent law-abiding citizens, said Mr Stewart Hardy, SM, in the Hamilton Magistrate’s Court yesterday.

He was commenting on their actions during at fight at Waihi Beach on Saturday.
Bruce William Soper, aged 22, carpenter, of Morrinsville, was sentenced to a total of 12 weeks’ imprisonment when he pleaded guilty to five charges, including disorderly behaviour, willful damage and resistance of a police officer in the course of this duty.

Soper was ordered to make restitution of 23 pounds 10shillings.  His sentence will be followed by 12 months probation.

Appeared Shirtless
Michael Albert Ford, bank clerk, aged 18, of Morrinsville, who pleaded guilty to willfully obstructing a constable in the execution of his duty, was sent to the detention centre at Waikeria.

The two accused had been in custody at Waihi since their arrest at Waihi Beach on Saturday night.  They appeared in Court, one wearing swim shorts and the other in jeans.  They had not shirts and were in bare feet.

Ford was warned two or three times to get out of the way while the two constables were trying to arrest the youths who were fighting.  Five or six youths in the group, including Ford, tried to prevent the arrest.  Soper who violently resisted arrest, was put into the station wagon owned by one of the constables and he kicked out the back window.