Port Taranaki

I’ve been thinking about my father, lately, quite often. His name was Milton Archibald Peryer. Born in 1904 he died in his 90’s. When I was interviewed on radio recently, Kim Hill the interviewer, probed a little about my parents and I hedged. I regret not being more forthcoming. Of significance is that I understated how my parents were puzzled by my career right until they died, in fact my fathers last words to me were “Peter, are you still in the same job?”. My mother’s approach was more commonly in the direction of “but is it worth you doing what you do, do you make enough money out of it”.

Surprisingly my father was quite a keen photographer himself.

In the late 30’s he was publican at the Breakwater Hotel in New Plymouth and took many photos of the port. This is now the deepest port on the West Coast of NZ, but it hasn’t always been that way. Early European settlers anchored offshore and were rowed in to land in small boats. In 1846 some of my relations were amongst them.

There was no breakwater then. Now there are two. The port has been going through development most of it’s life and as it happens, there are very few photographs from the time my parents lived there. I imagine that ports weren’t particularly high on people’s subject matter list.

Puke Ariki, our museum now has files of these images and are going to show some in November.

The photo above shows the Breakwater Hotel. This area is now completely built up. Below is railway line being laid. What I notice is that in the left hand arched window there is a bird cage. My father loved birds, and had lots of them.