Beach in the blood ... Some families have connections to Motunau Beach that go back generations. PHOTO: IRENE SHEPHERD


Julie Brown is writing the story of Motunau Beach.

Julie, a writer, ghost writer and fourth-generation bach holder at the beach, is capturing the culture and history of the beach settlement in an album.

Julie has been commissioned by a pioneering family to write and compile an album of archived material, anecdotes and verbal history of the settlement and its environs.

She says has been humbled by the extraordinary support she has received for the project.

“The album will be a glorious compilation of photos, stories, anecdotes and history sourced from as many pioneering families, current residents and bach holders as possible.

“I will capture stories and material from each group, with full exposure of the previous and present family’s influence and impact on Motunau, from beach and rural, bach and farm, to holiday-makers and fishing industry aficionados,” says the Ashburton writer, who has compiled various books for community, culture and commercial interests.

Julie says the album will preserve the history of Motunau for generations to come.

While considering the album a private community project, she says – synonymous with her work to date – it will educate and entice future generations to revere the past, respect the present and consider the future of Motunau’s unique environs.

She has already spoken to 20 families and is delighted with the response from the community in helping her gather material from individuals and families who have had Motunau in their lives.

” I am asking for any anecdote, story or memory, any photo, article or archive that pertains to your life at the beach.

“Your family’s name will then be acknowledged and included in perpetuity.”

Hurunui Mayor Winton Dalley has backed the project, saying it will be a valued album for “perpetuity”.

He says Julie’s grandparents built one of the first three baches on the river-front and her grandson is now the fifth generation to holiday at the beach.

“This family history places Julie in a perfect position and qualifies her to compile the album.

“She is committed to giving the community a gift of heritage from a positive stance rather than resultant from a trauma-driven perspective,” he says.

Mr Dalley says Julie’s authentic heritage, writing professionalism and community spirit gave him full confidence to endorse her project.

Her email is SneakersBoots