Eastbourne, New Zealand
An outer suburb, it is situated on the eastern shore of Wellington Harbour, 5 kilometres south of the main Lower Hutt urban area, and directly across the harbour from the Miramar Peninsula in Wellington city. It is reached from Lower Hutt by a narrow exposed coastal road via the industrial suburb of Seaview. It comprises some 2000 residential homes spread over the seven main small bays of Point Howard, Lowry Bay, York Bay, Mahina Bay, Days Bay, Rona Bay and Robinsons Bay, although only the last two are commonly considered part of Eastbourne itself. There are also two smaller bays; Sunshine Bay and Sorrento Bay.
Close to the sea and catching afternoon sun, the bays are quite steep with the lower reaches having homes, many with spectacular harbour views. Higher up there is mainly native bush and trees. With a locally administered possum eradication programme much of the native bush has regenerated including some magnificent red flowering northern rātā trees. The bush has numerous tracks running to and from them including a track along the entire bays hills ridge. It also has sheltered swimming beaches that are a major attraction. Eastbourne is also a popular windsurfing and kitesurfing location due to Wellington’s frequently windy weather.
There is a regular trans-harbour ferry service between Wellington and Eastbourne, which docks at the Days Bay wharf in Eastbourne and at Queen's Wharf close to down-town Wellington. The ferry is an alternative to (and is normally faster than) the bus link run by Valley Flyer around the harbour. A one-way ferry journey takes about 25 minutes, while a bus or car from Wellington can take 30 minutes, and closer to 60 minutes during rush hour.
Prior to its amalgamation into Lower Hutt, the Borough of Eastbourne was a separate town, with its own council and civic administration. The Eastbourne Community Board is a remnant of the town council and remains vocal on local issues. After much unhappiness with the council and community board an independent group calling itself "Eastbourne Rights" was set up and one of its first issues was to promote the secession from Lower Hutt and amalgamation with Wellington City Council.
Eastbourne has one volunteer fire brigade which is located in Makaro Street, near one of the three local primary schools, Muritai School. The other schools are San Antonio School and Wellesley College.
The main township has cafes, a delicatessen, a book shop, restaurants, a small supermarket, several takeaways, a fresh fruit & vegetable shop, a dairy, a pharmacy, an antique shop, pub (tavern), beauty salons, gift shops, a butcher, a computer shop, and a woman's fashion boutique.
At the end of Eastbourne beyond Burdan's gate there is a long pedestrian-only coastal road (unsealed) which extends out to the Wellington Harbour entrance heads. The backdrop terrain is steep, exposed and beautifully natural. There are three lighthouses at the heads. The coastal road is a popular weekend walk for locals and tourists.
It is also home to Muritai Yacht Club.
Days Bay was originally called Hawtrey Bay. It was settled by the Day family who had emigrated in 1841 from Kent aboard the Arab. William Tod appears to have employed George Day to look after his interests in the area while he went south. They had permission to cut and sell firewood and timber. The Days built their house in the bay and operated a schooner that ferried early settlers between the Hutt Valley and Wellington. After their house was severely damaged by an earthquake, the Day family left the bay in November 1849 aboard the schooner Flirt, which was captained by their eldest son George Fredrick Day, and sailed to Lyttelton in Canterbury, where the settlement of Christchurch took place. By December 1849 the family had settled in Sumner and George Day had become a road construction overseer, while the rest of the family appears to have continued their firewood, timber and shipping activities.
Days Bay has particular associations with the young Katherine Mansfield, as her parents owned a holiday house in the bay. The story "At the Bay" was based on her experiences of staying in Days Bay as a child.
The wharf in Days Bay was built by brothers Maurice (aka Morris) and John Kleinjan, who immigrated from the Netherlands and set up a successful construction company. The first step onto the wharf has Kleinjan Brothers carved into the concrete.
- Beaglehole, A., & Carew, A. (2001). Eastbourne: a history of the eastern bays of Wellington Harbour Eastbourne, NZ: Historical Society of Eastbourne. ISBN 0-473-07966-6
- Paterson, Ann (1983). Stories of York Bay: a community effort. ISBN 0-473-00106-3
- Amodeo, Colin (ed.) (1998) Rescue: The Sumner community and its lifeboat service. Sumner, Christchurch: Sumner Lifeboat Institution Incorporated.
- Eastbourne ferry service
- Muritai Primary School
- San Antonio School
- Wellesley College (Primary School)
- Anglican Parish of St Alban's
- Local Eastbourne Site
- Muritai Yacht Club