Whangamata: The flood of memories


whangamataI was always lucky as a child. My family were huge believers in travel and from the day I was born my father had already began mapping out a family trip. Being half Filipino it was to first visit my Mothers family back home. However, no matter how many countries we traveled too when I was a child it was always just one place that I demanded we go back to.


Situated in the Coromandel of New Zealand right in my backyard. Every year my family would spend two amazing weeks there. AS kids my companions were my cousins and my siblings. It was great. We’d run around the beach, build sand castles and eat ice blocks until our tongue turned another colour. I always waited and waited for the summer to roll around for us to go back.

And then my Dad decided it would be a good idea to head to Japan to live. And while I loved it I experienced some pretty terrible home sickness. Eventually my Father consented to sending me back home. To which I demanded to my Grandmother, with whom I now lived, that we again head to Whangamata. Which we did.

I frolicked as blissful and as happy as any 13 year old could be. And so every year we’d spend another year at Whangamata. This time learning to surf and exploring on my own a lot more. Then everything changed when I turned 15. Being a teenager and full of hormones, I of course was busy perving at all the cute guys along the beach. And then I met Martin. The girls and I were being typical giggly teenage girls and wolf whistling (such ladies right?) at the boys going past. Martin and his friend whistled back and that was the beginning of our history. Turns out we had much in common including our birthdays. We were born only 30 minutes apart. It was almost as though fate intervened. I guess at 15 you can never under estimate the feelings of love and for me it was pretty strong. Sadly summer came and went. And our little romance had to come to a close. However it was not all a sad story, after 10 years Martin and I remained amazing friends and still continue to reminisce about our summer together.

Whangamata held so much more for me than I ever anticipated as a child though. In 2011 now a 23 year old woman, I experienced a heart break like no other. And so in a desperate attempt for an escape I rallied my girlfriends and headed away to my treasured spot. Where time healed like no other. I once again giggled, swam, and frolicked under the stunning Coromandel sun and realized that memories of a place, no matter how much it changes always stay with you and there is nothing like creating new ones in your own piece of heaven.

About the Author: Mei-ling Kirkpatrick: New Zealander who is crazy about travel and writing as much as I can about my experiences. Here and abroad.

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