Life at No.22, Musings, New Zealand

Growing up in PARADISE – Part 2

As previously stated in Growing up in Paradise, I was a baby in the ’50s, a child of the ’60s and a teenager in the ’70s and adulthood from the late seventies.  Life was pretty free and easy back then, even though times were changing.

High School, school certificate, and no driver’s licence, in that order. The school life came and went as we made our way through the minefields of growing up.

Music began changing; there were fewer protest songs and more commercial pop.  Some of us were more inclined to listen to more profound and meaningful music in the form of Pink Floyd and Santana.

Abortion demonstration, Gisborne, 1977.jpg

We wandered everywhere in complete safety, or that is what we thought. Everything bustled and Friday night traffic was bedlam but little on the weekends because nothing was open.  That was until I moved from a small town to Auckland.

Jobs were a dime a dozen in the big city; we worked to live.  A girl could go out and assume that drinks were to be bought for her and her mates if the dialogue was to happen between the dance floor and drink times, at the local nightclub.  Cell phones had just started to come out and be a “thing” to have in 1979, overseas, though luckily for me none with cameras.  Mobile phones were not available for many in New Zealand, until after 1987.

Contact between teenagers was real, not virtual.

I now lived in a city, in the beginning in a hostel of sorts, just girls with our individual rooms and a supervisor to scare away those persistent males at the door.  All part of the deal, cheap lodgings being surrounded by girls, as we all worked at a local Queen Street hotel as waitresses. Which was preferable to the alternative seat in an office typing out letters in a resentful way.  I had also swapped my carefree summer fun on the local beach called Ohope, for late sleep-ins and nightclub dancing with work scheduled in between.  So different now were those long, hot, hazy summer days.

War protests were swapped for marches against university fees, yes I wasn’t a student back then, that was to come a few years later on.  Then just a protestor who happened to be pushed up front and appeared on TV.

Though one did get out of hand in 1984, an end of year academic party.


Dave Dobbyn, DD Smash’s lead singer, then allegedly told the crowd, ‘I wish those riot squad guys would stop wanking and put their little batons away.’

The Squire with a more extended work record was to be doing his protest in the form of a union strike; interviewed for an article, it appeared in the local paper, ironically the industry that makes the paper was the one he was protesting against for workers rights.

More than once, I was to hear the words “Swim or sink, my dear.

Of course, the 1970s like the previous decade, had an assortment of drugs and booze readily available, to flue the weekend.

Starting off with pub crawling on a Friday night to the ending with wild parties lasting until the wee hours of Sunday morning.  Most people smoked as it was considered “cool”, for some to hang out in the doorway with a glass of whatever and a fag dangling from a middle finger.  To up the coolness, a cigarette holder was always an option.

Auckland in the 1980s, when heading to Australia for a shopping spree was not unheard of with the required big hair, framed by big shoulder pads as you walked off the plane unless you were wearing a strapless dress.  Oh, the days of being braless, when there was no issue.  As was the beginning of Gay Rights which started to be spoken more about  25-years-of-gay-rights-in-New-Zealand

The oil shocks arrived, causing carless days. I used public transport, not a car. People had discovered credit. The pay was meagre, and you couldn’t buy what you wanted without paying it off.

I  went for rides on motorcycles and even had my own of sorts, it was only a 50cc what it lacked in power it held it’s own in style.  Before I ventured down that line of transport, the Squire had clocked up many years of power and style with his Honda 750cc not to mention the range of flashy cars.

With interest in food.  I took note when the economic reform and deregulation in the 1980s increased the range of imported foods and cookware available in the country. Gourmet culture took over the food conversation.  It was now not the done thing to serve up to guests a lamb chop with spuds and peas.  A trip to Australia for a latte was now not needed.

1987 stock market crash saw my return from London. 

Another decade dawned, Auckland was not the place for me to be, and a smaller town was now on the cards.  Times were changing drastically for me.  No more roaming and navel-gazing.  It was the responsibility of homeownership and a cat.  Not sure which signified more of a change in my need to grow up, owning a house or the cat.  By the way, the cat was called Holly.

With life at a much slower pace, with less materialistic things we considered ourselves a little more secure as kids, though funnily enough not many thought we were as adults.

We were dealing with the same angst, just in a different generation.

Did we have it right way back then?

It felt sort of an innocent time.  It felt real and sorely missed by us that grew up then.  Who is to say it was good or bad?  Who knows?  Certainly not me.  I have no idea.

All I know is that it cannot be found again.  

39 thoughts on “Growing up in PARADISE – Part 2”

  1. I too was born in the 50s, and a child of the 60s. A great post Suzanne, and a great meander through your life – and mine. I remember the first cell phones I ever saw were the size of a house brick. They were carried in a case similar in size to carry on luggage which was needed to house the phone and all its necessary paraphernalia. Loved the bike – I never had one of those. And how cool was it to chill out to Pink Floyd. I remember lying with my head between two speakers mesmerised by, Dark Side of the Moon. What a buzz.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sweet memories of a trouble-free past. I think we all think this way, wherever we grew up in the western world. Studying was the only thing that required responsibility. Yet, once I was an adult and in need to live my own life, I have mostly felt free and able to choose as well. It’s not the same, but we can try our best – like you guys are doing – to get some of that freedom and stressless life back. 🙂

    I grew up with shoulder pads as well, and that was in the eighties. The cell phone came much, much later in Belgium.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “All I know is that it cannot be found again.” – sad. I agree with you. Times were more innocent when I was a child as well. I read through my great-grandfather’s memoirs and that innocence seems to have lasted much longer – maybe even into high school. I often wish we could go back in time where a parent stayed home with children, technology didn’t affect the way we communicate with loved ones (visiting their homes or phone calls would suffice), there were very few school shootings – if any at all, more time to be with family, and less stress (as you commented to Hayley).

    Very thought-provoking post, Suzanne. Thank you for sharing a glimpse into your world when you were growing up. I’m sure family members of yours will enjoy reading this in the future!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Erin, I love the life I have now I wouldn’t like to return to my younger self. I suppose the younger generations will come up with a way to swing that pendulum slowly instead of fast in the right direction. Whatever that means to the following generations.


  4. A great post Suzanne! Great looking back at years gone by. As one of your previous commenters said, I don’t remember Mobile’s coming out in the 70’s either, although a vague recollection of them being on TV programs. A really good read 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Sam 🙂 This post has been sitting in my drafts for quite a while!! As far as the mobile phone in NZ is concerned it was launched in 1987 where as the first mobile phone was in 1973. Links here:

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This was a lovely & interesting read Suzanne. A sort of meander through your life. I often think things were more simple in the past. Even comparing my childhood to my daughter’s. But my daughter has more opportunities than I did as a child and she seems very happy, so I agree- who knows what is worse or better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Hayley, I love many aspects from all generations, and not one is perfect. Yes, the generations now have certainly got more opportunities and with that comes more stress to perform. It will be an interesting world when most of the factory or menial work is dispensed with. Will the future be genetically modified to only produce “intelligent” humans. Long gone before that happens as the norm!!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I really like these posts. It sounds different, and at the same time not too different to my youth growing up in rural Cambridgeshire. We took buses, went to protests, were paid incredibly low wages and started to learn about amazing world foods.

    But…we did start to have mobiles (with texting rather than swapping whatsapp photos!)

    I also totally agree that getting a cat seems like the biggest step into adulthood. I seem to be totally under the paw!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good and bad, in all generations. Unfortunately, we as a society, go from one set of rules to another in huge swings, instead of small ones. It would be a more balanced world if we did it slowly. Though having said that, without the protests about social issues where would we be now? Not sure if we will ever have a healthy balance to rearing children or living our lives. What would we have to angst about? 🙂


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