& Camp

"without prejudice"

Basil considered that the Riversdale Beach Store was the vital engine room of the whole beach. He maintained that the store was like the cover to the resort's book, it is the first impression hence the importance of service, smiling faces, flags flying, coloured umbrellas and background happy music. It was never intended that any of the Bodle family would be store or camp operators for profit, it was specifically operated to give a professional service to enhance the whole resort.

The pop up caravan on the store corner in 1954 was used by Dave Pringle as a real estate office. There is a possibility it may also have been used to sell ice creams and ice blocks.

The resort did not have electricity until 1959 so ice Creams and ice blocks were transported in canvas bags from Masterton, in those days a one hour drive.

The store was given the name of the Tradin Post by Ricky Long from Masterton.

The lockwood store house was built by one of the two La Grouw brothers who started Lockwood in New Zealand in approx 1955. Gary's job was to hammer every nail into the floor as a 10 year old.

Basil purchased a number of army search lights ex WII, the motors generated electricity and were housed behind the shop thus enabling the store to run fridges and freezers. Basil also ran wires across the road to his house and John Bunnys house.

As the store developed it became a Post Office, First Aid Post, housed the fire tender, towing service for vehicles getting stuck around the beach .

The first lease of the store was to Basil's eldest daughter Paulene in the late 1950's. Paulene was married to Tony Pilmer of Waiteko Station some 18 klms away.

Paulene diversified services in the store by introducing clothing, sun hats, lilos and beach items.

Photo above : For many years Francis (Curly) and Noreen Scharnweber ran the store in the 1960's. Basil considered Curly to be a very loyal employee as he used to work for Basil in Reliance Tyre and Rubber Company in the Masterton branch.

Photo Above Noreen & Curleys daughter Marie

Late 1960's Basil was concerned about the NZ economy, there was an economic recession. Basil had many sections that were not selling with enormous expenses in development costs. In addition, the farm he had purchased for his eldest son Brian to manage, "Riversdale Station ", had an enormous mortgage due for repayment within two years. Basil influenced his youngest son Gary to return from Australia to help with the sales of sections and relieve the family Trust's financial burden. Gary was successful bringing the family trust out of debt paying off the farm mortgage and putting the business into a very profitable position. It was this financial turnaround that prompted the decision to build a new store and modern camp facilities.

The two photos below I felt relevant to Gary's experience in the retail commercial world, first with Hansells (NZ) Ltd, where he was a very successful representative in the Rotorua/Bay of Plenty/Taupo/part Waikato areas. Second he started an Australian company called W.B. Hansells PTY Ltd at Coffs Harbour in NSW . Its obvious in Basil's notes he regarded Gary to have the right management and organizations skills to lift the family business out of financial difficulties. The family business called Waipoua Trust had huge debts the largest being a mortgage over the Riversdale Station which Basil's eldest son Brian was managing.

Photo above: From left to right, Murray King (Sales Manager) Gary Bodle, Peter Signal, Athol Rose, Rua Harris, Tony Evans.

Photo above : A Hansell's sales meeting showing Gary third on the left.

From left to right Peter Signal, Lionel Drew, Gary Bodle, Stan Ireland , Alan Thompson, Murray King(sales manager), John Maunsell (Managing Director), Maurice Shaw (representative of Rattray & Son from Dunedin, Geoff Harris, Murray Mclennon, Alf Fear, Athol Rose, Ian Chisholm, Rua Harris. (not Present Tony Evans)

The camping ground started before the store business, but at that time it was more of a family concern and for Basil's friends. The camping revenue as the camp became popular was included in the store revenue. For many years the store and camp were subsidised by section sales as they were always regarded as a service to enhance the sales of sections. For many years the Riversdale Station was also subsidised by section revenue according to Basil recordings. I asked Gary why the store was separated from the camping ground and why some people think this was a mistake affecting the store profitability. Gary Said " the store profitability at the time was very financially successful. It was only some time later that new Lessees ran into problems, mainly due to the lack of retail knowledge of the service that was required. In addition some Lessees altered the former strategic layout of the shop , moving freezers changing shelving and elimination some services. The cause and effect resulted in higher shrinkage (shop lifting) more holiday makers going into town to do their shopping."

I asked Gary in more successful times when he operated the store and camp how many staff did he employ over the busy season." He said " I employed up to 15 staff , two or three full time in the camp continuously cleaning and checking equipment and 12 in the shop on shift work. ".

The concrete tennis court and skating rink located behind the shop was a very popular meeting place for campers and beach house owners. Each night Gary ran the roller skating for Basil, selling cold drinks and playing latest hits for the children to roller skate to. Basil purchased 200 pairs of roller skates, it took ten years for the last few pairs to survive. The area also used to house outdoor dances, outdoor movies, new years celebrations, frog jumping contests and of course tennis.

Photo above Believed to be Harry & Una Halls tent site, three children in front of the tent Trevor, Kevin & Beverly (Bev) Hall taken around 1958/59

Photo above : Supplied by Ken Gear. From left to right :Sandra, Ken, Wayne, Edith, Denis, Carol all showing their catch of crayfish..The Gear Family had three generations of their family camping at the beach.

Two photos above supplied by Ken Gear.Top photo Ken is the driver of the family tractor( in fancy dress )for the annual tractor race . Photo taken in front of the family tent. Bottom photo of Nicole Gear holding up a crayfish

Two photos above Supplied by Ken Gear of his Father Leo and below his Mum Edith holding two crayfish in front of their camp site.

Photo above supplied by Ken Gear of his sister Sandra with George Guise.

Photo supplied by Ken Gear of family camper friends.From Left to right, Cecil & Rita Henderson Joyce Guise, unknown,

The camping ground was very primitive in the early days, (1950's) - the builders' quarters were altered to make room for a kitchen with an Aga stove and sink. Other half of the same building was a flat. All toilets in the early days were long drops.


The camping ground was an extremely important facet for the sale of sections in the early years as many campers ended up buying sections and houses. As the camp grew it became more difficult to manage due to the main road running right through the middle of it. The demise of the camp, in Gary's opinion, was started with the then Ratepayers Association with the same negative influence , "...undermining cloud of jealousy," as Basil used to refer to,( see Opposition and disappointment) with their plan to develop the controversial Esplanade Reserve which opened up a new boundary for the public to enter the camping area. In addition to this, the camping ground turnover was extremely limited, being a seasonal resort and to protect itself from the public it would need to have had a huge fence all around the boundaries. The capital cost was prohibitive and it was clear that the reason for keeping the camp to sell properties was ending , an end of an era. Click onto :Camping ground demise

Gary sold the camp to Mark Donaldson on the condition he accommodated existing lease site campers.

Be sure to see :.Camping ground demise

This list is far from being complete, if you can add to it let me know, Jess

Store and camp staff over the early years:.

Noreen & Curley Scharnweber

Phil Bodle

Ken Barnes

Ross Grantham

Barbara Bodle.

Paulene Pilmer (Bodle).

Gary Bodle,

Peter & Rae McKenzie,

Dave & Helen Hickman.

Karen Ellis,

Sonya Ellis,

Leith Ellis,

Lorna Conner.

June Marfel,

Lorna Conner,

Katie Spray

Karen Stevenson

Lyn McKay,

Ann Bodle,

Francis Shaw,

Bridget Shaw.

Theresa Shaw.

Frith MacKenzie,

Kate MacKenzie,

Lynsay Tozer,

Ian Price,

Phyliss Horsborough (accounts)

David & Helen Hickman

Brian & Anthea Workman,

John & Beverly Shearer,

Daniel Shearer,

Alan Agar,

Susan Sparks.

Pip Stewart,

Colin & Heather Maloney

Loes Bodle,

Christine Summers.

Marianne Coulton.

Julie Adamson

Melissa Bunny