Mini Mission: Te Henga / by craig levers

Bethells Beach/Te Henga is special place for the Levers' clan. In the late 1950's my parents and Auntie owned the Swanson IGA grocery. This was pre supermarkets in New Zealand and the IGA franchise of small owner run groceries were large in every community. The Swanson IGA serviced families right out to the coast. The extended Bethells' families being one of their largest accounts. The weekly supply orders would be rung in, Auntie Audrey and Mum would box them up and then Dad would deliver them in the trusty [actually from all accounts not that trusty] Hillman Husky van.

  Te Henga late 1950's- Photo Audrey Levers

Te Henga late 1950's- Photo Audrey Levers

Auntie, Dad and Mum have always spoken fondly on those times; being a part of the local Santa Parades, the community spirit around the store. Long days sun basting on the black sand [Dad loved having a good tan] By the mid '60's the writing was on the wall for small community groceries- Supermarkets were opening up and squeezing the margins, the Levers sold out of Swanson. 

  Aunite Audrey's shot of Bethells from 1959 that was used for the cover of the book   Beached As Then and Now

Aunite Audrey's shot of Bethells from 1959 that was used for the cover of the book Beached As Then and Now

The oldies and Auntie keep in touch with a lot of their friends from the Swanson years, as kids we were always dragged along for Sunday afternoon visits out west. Mum and I still go out to Swanson for lunches. The village is now a suburb in Auckland's sprawl, but Mum points out Calverts Butchers and Yozins every time. 

Bethells Beach was always going to feature large in Beached As 2 because of that, but then the Whitcoulls buyer suggested 'That shot with the old cars' should be the cover. It was a last minute change, and I'm glad we did it. 

  The first beach spread in the book... kind of had to be aye! 

The first beach spread in the book... kind of had to be aye! 

Over the last few weeks there has been a real itch to get out to Te Henga. There have been a couple of false starts. The gear loaded in the wagon and then at the last minute a swerve left back home to Piha. Landscape photos are as much as anything else weather photos. The way the light falls on the land; you are chasing extraordinary light. Marginal conditions create that light, those fleeting moments of a burst of sun through storm clouds... holy crap I'm getting a bit lyrical here... what I really mean is setting up the cameras in some bloody dodgey winter weather hoping for a bit of sun to pop through. 

It all came together on Monday arvo- windy...but not too windy, raining...but a real chance of fine spells. Here's what happened; 

 You wouldn't even know the camera bag was drenched 2 minutes before. This is the 617 film camera set up to test a new Linhof lens, lens is good! The actual image- too stock standard. 

You wouldn't even know the camera bag was drenched 2 minutes before. This is the 617 film camera set up to test a new Linhof lens, lens is good! The actual image- too stock standard. 

 This is more like it! Clouds racing so a cheeky 4 minute long exposure creates that movement in the sky.

This is more like it! Clouds racing so a cheeky 4 minute long exposure creates that movement in the sky.

 The tsunami sirens are gone and the sand is over a metre higher; another 4 minute exposure

The tsunami sirens are gone and the sand is over a metre higher; another 4 minute exposure

 Just after the sun has set for that clean, sombre, contrasty mood. 

Just after the sun has set for that clean, sombre, contrasty mood.