The Resort's Creator and his Family.
The sole credit for the creation of Riversdale Beach Resort belongs to Basil Vaughan Bodle who had the vision, imagination, capacity, foresight, and tenacity to achieve this. Besides the loyalty of friends and Reliance staff he was supported by his wife Phyllis and family who played a crucial role in the development.
Basil and Phil’s four children Paulene, Brian, Barbara and Gary all played an important part in the resort's creation in varying degrees.
Photo below taken in 1953 of the Bodle Family just before the beach Development.
To understand how Riversdale Beach Resort was such a success against extreme opposition and became the largest resort in the Wairarapa province, one needs to understand the determined man behind it.
Photos above: Basil as a young man.
Photo above: Basil & Phil.
Each member of Basil's family was involved with the creation of the resort in varying degrees.
Paulene, the eldest sibling, had the very first lease of the store and was very successful for that period in diversification of services. Paulene was the first ladies club captain of the surf club and was a powerful swimmer like her Dad. She lived on a nearby farm station and gave much support to Basil with her husband Tony who supplied farm equipment.
Brian, the second eldest sibling, supplied his version of the history of Riversdale Beach in a publication called "On The Edge"Wairarapa Coastal" and is quoted extensively. Brian contributed extensively with hard labour in the early development of the resort. He was tall and strong and Basil made good use of him . According to Basil's recordings, Brian during most of the 1960's farmed a small holding at Gladstone just out of Masterton, so his involvement at the beach was limited over this period with the exception of Surf carnivals where he was a good organiser. Later he managed the farm property Basil purchased at the beach formally known as Riversdale Station. At a later period Brian Purchased the Riversdale Station from the family trust. He was involved heavily, but intermittently with the Golf Club and Surf Club being Club Captain in both organisation with much persuasion and financial incentives from Basil . He also organised one small subdivision for Basil . His excellent organising ability was shown with local farmers being the main distributor and promoter of 245T poison for gorse. This product is totally banned in NZ now.
Barbara and Gary, the youngest siblings although young were put to work, painting hundreds of tyres which were half buried on the sides of all the roads to prevent vehicles getting stuck in the soft sand. Barbara was also involved with working in the first store, as well as planting flower beds, watering shrubs etc. Barbara was Phil's right hand assistant in the kitchen where Phil prepared hundreds of meals for Surf Club boys, surf club carnivals, and hundreds of guests. She was also involved with the Surf Club especially on carnival days.
Barbara & Gary have both stated the Basil expected too much from them in their early years which hampered their social lives with working every school holidays and weekends.
Gary, like Barbara, was heavily involved with planting, watering and helping with any chore directed by Basil in the creation of the vision of the development. Much of his school holidays were spent working at the Golf Links, planting trees and grass cuttings by hand, mowing and rolling greens, watering shrubs, shifting hoses all around the links. Basil designated Gary as the resorts Public Relations Officer organisating of entertainment i.e. children's activities, such as organising and hiring out roller skates every holiday evening, outdoor movies, arranging bands and preparing the venue for dances , on the concrete skating rink. During the day he was involved with activities such as swimming and surf board riding lessons. Then between times and when Basil deemed necessary, there was patrolling of the beach when the Surf Club Members went back to work during the summer weeks.
From 1970 Gary managed the motel, store and camping ground and later purchased the same from the family trust. He became a real estate salesperson through Dave Pringle Real Estate Agency. Then later Gary obtained his own Real Estate license and took over the subdivision planning and development. Later he was Basil's closest business confidant, taking over many business aspects of the resort, as evidenced within the pages of this web site. Below is a testimony of Gary's efforts in supporting his parents in the development of the resort.
Back to Basil's history:
Basil had very distinctive writing with a thick nib fountain pen which certainly authenticates his history.
Photo taken of Basil & Phil's at their youngest son Gary's wedding to Loes Kerkhof.
The Bodle family picture taken in the 1960's and then about ten years later.