PHO2014_0373.jpg Ngāmotu Beach and Port Taranaki, 1st January 1939 (1939). Teed & Co. Collection of Puke Ariki (PHO2014-0373).

Judging by the number of cars parked up in the sand, it seems that Ngāmotu Beach was the place to be to celebrate the start of the New Year in 1939! A large crowd of people can be seen soaking up the sun with some even brave enough to take a dip in the sea.

Produced by local pharmacist and photography studio Teed & Co, the image has been hand-tinted with bright blues, greens, yellows and reds to create a vibrant scene that really does evoke the fun of summer holidays. The large building near the centre of the image, known as the Palladium, opened on New Year’s Day in 1917.

Ngāmotu Beach was labelled “The Playshore of the Pacific” and the entertainment included a treasure hunt, donkey races and a “first-class band”. The New Year’s celebration and other carnivals at Ngāmotu became annual events, drawing crowds from all around Taranaki till they began to decline in popularity from the late 1950s. The final carnival was held at the beach in 1966, giving way to other, more fashionable, forms of family entertainment.

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