I first came to Riverton on holiday when I was about four years old. We stayed at the camping ground at Riverton Rocks. I lost my sandals when the tide swept them away and had to walk back to the camp across a paddock of thistles.
In the last three days I have found pebbly and sandy beaches and more care for wildlife.
There are still thistles in the paddocks and I was delighted to find caterpillars on ragwort (which fascinated me as a child) and spider nurseries in gorse bushes.
The town has an excellent museum. Through a glass door you can observe conservators preserving historical artefacts. I didn’t know that there were so many pre-European Māori settlements on the offshore islands here. They had survival down to a fine art. Relations with the sealers, whalers and saw-millers were strained at times, but not always. Attempts to establish separate Māori and Pakeha schools failed because the children wanted to stay with their friends. The many intermarriages also made it hard to decide who should go to which school.
Street art adds interest to many otherwise unremarkable buildings.
There are many interesting old buildings and efforts to preserve some of them. There are also a lot of new beachfront homes for the people who live and holiday here. A man who writes a column for New Zealand Gardener magazine has established a food forest here. He and his wife have rescued and revived many heritage apple varieties. A local environment centre shares ideas and produce. It is a pleasant and vibrant community with a fascinating history.