Endless summer days in Ohope

We went to Ohope for the first time one summer on the outskirts of change.

It was 1991. The sea was settling. My soon-to-be stepdad took us to show the two-storey house ("flash!") and the corner store and the fishing spot and the waves where he grew up.

We drove past his old house at night on the way to get icecreams and fought in the backseat over who was the first to point out the right one.

Adults are born old in the eyes of the young. I would try to place him there, crossing the road barefeet on his way to the beach, feet stinging on hot tar. I couldn't.

His family were strangers to us. I knew his dad was a painter once, so I'd picture him on a ladder out front, hard at work, while my stepdad kicked a ball around on the grass below, long hair and bright coloured stubbies. I couldn't.

That holiday, his childhood place was overrun with our new family and by the end of the week it belonged to us all.