Sharing Paekākāriki

Paekākāriki people offered open home to ‘their’ Marines. The boys packed the pub and the new milk bars and burger stands, paid local women to wash and iron their uniforms, were invited to Sunday dinner after attending church, and jitterbugged in St Peter’s Hall. Children ran errands, begged for chewing gum and collected cartridge cases from the sandhills. Trains to Wellington, Ōtaki or Levin were filled with men on leave, hopeful of a date.

US marines in New Zealand

Although forbidden to, a friend and I got a job as Evening Post paper boys at the railway station. One of us worked the station and the other the train. Marines seldom worried about change so it was a great paying job.

John Porter

Read Memories of the Marines by John Porter

US marines in New Zealand

We were overrun by contractors building and carting coal... everything had to be there for these people. Camps just popped up everywhere, and the contractors all moving in - it was just a hive of activity... the village grew milk bars and things that we never even knew about. All getting built in a hurry.

Jean Andrews

Read An 11 year-old’s perspective on World War II by Maurice Perry

US marines in New Zealand

My father who was a carpenter was 'man-powered' to assist in the building of camps for the Marines in Paekākāriki. These camps had to be ready within six weeks. There were concrete floors to be laid for cookhouses, ablution blocks, wooden huts, and big tents with wooden floors as well.

Leslie Varcoe

Read Memories of the Marines by Leslie Varcoe