It was a beach that offered much. Covered with sand, it shelved evenly and there was even a mineral spring nearby which the local Maori named ‘Tara’.
James Heberley was soon well settled at the beach and like all old salts, he was a student of the weather. In his opinion the weather was only doing one thing all the time – it was getting ‘worser’. People kept asking him about the weather and the answer was the same every time. So eventually, and despite the attractiveness of the beach, the bay where James Heberley lived became known as ‘old Worser’s Bay’. And the name has stuck. Although the local Maori offered Jim and his wife some land nearby, he didn’t stay there for long, eventually moving to town and then on to Marlborough.
While the rest of Wellington progressed, Miramar, Seatoun and Worser Bay were slow to develop. For a long time the sole inhabitants were James, his wife and family, the Pilot crew and two or three Maori families. The area was isolated from the rest of town by Mount Victoria and a large area of swamp known as the Miramar flats. The Crawford family owned most of Miramar and where possible, it was farmed. The remainder of Miramar consisted of swamp and native bush in which pigs, rabbits and wild turkey were plentiful.
His Royal Highness, the Duke of Edinburgh during his visit in 1869 went on a shooting expedition in the area and was responsible, according to the local paper, for the elimination of the Miramar menace – a wild boar of mean temperament. Local residents weren’t quite so sure and rumour was that it was little more than a farm pig introduced by the Crawford’s when the local wild game failed to materialise.
In the 1890s, fishermen began making their homes in the area surrounding Worser Bay but it was still isolated. Stores arrived monthly by boat and locals had to rely on fish, rabbits, wild turkeys and peacocks for fresh meat.
Miramar eventually became a borough in its own right and assumed control of its own progress. The Crawford family began breaking up its land into building allotments and settlement increased. In 1906, the Mount Victoria tram tunnel was completed and trams began running to Kilbirnie. In the same year, the Seatoun tunnel was also completed and the Miramar Borough Council extended its transport services to Seatoun.
As soon as the new transport services were in place, the popularity of the eastern suburbs took off. The beaches that dotted the area became popular weekend holiday resorts. Trams lines to both Lyall Bay and Seatoun were completed and crowds of city folk were soon seen promenading along Lyall Bay and visiting Seatoun and Worser Bay. Swimming started to grow in popularity at both beaches.
Some city folk built whares on the hills surrounding Worser Bay and summer weekends were spent fishing and swimming and the beaches thronged with visitors.
Kākāriki-Hūtia pā (PLUCKED PARAKEETS)
Ngäti Ira & Ngai Tara were the original iwi of the area. Kākāriki-Hūtia pā on the eastern terminus of Awa road was once a Ngäti Ira pā whose name comes from a Rangitāne Ngāti Apa invasion where the defending, and later victorious Rangatira grabbed some plucked but uncooked parakeets which he devoured on his way to battle. During the fighting he encountered and vanquished the attacking chief whose dying words were “who can withstand the man of the karariki hutia (plucked parakeets?). The pā then carried this name.
Kākāriki was later occupied by the Ngati Te Whiti hapu of Te Atiawa under Wi Tako Ngatata. After Wi Tako relocated to Pito- one and then Kumutoto, Kākāriki was reoccupied by Maata Te Wai Naihi of the Puketapu hapu of Te Ati Awa, her husband James Heberley (Worser) and their growing family, Kākāriki then was known as Worser Bay.