The first sections in Browns Bay were sold from 1917 and the first meeting of the Browns Bay Progressive Association soon followed, on 25 January 1919. The Association’s aims and objectives were quite simple: furthering the interests of the Bay and facilities, particularly regarding Waitemata County. The Association lobbied for better roads, stopping wandering cattle, constructing tennis courts, building bathing sheds at the end of Anzac Beach Reserve and draining the Freyberg Park area for a sportsground. The Association managed the Progress Hall and tennis courts, and from 21 May 1940 was renamed the Browns Bay Progressive and Ratepayers’ Association. By 1944 there were no less than 600 houses (and 1,100 population) in the combined Browns and Rothesay Bays area. Their minute books, from 1919 to 2008, are at the Takapuna Library.
Population changes across the whole of the East Coast Bays between 1936 and 1945 were dramatic. From around 1,500 people in 1936, by the time of the 1945 population census it was around 3,700. Accordingly, this prompted local residents to form other residents’ associations to ensure proper development of their areas and co-ordinated them through their East Coast Bays Central Committee.
The Mairangi Bay Progressive Association was formed on 31 October 1931 and was wound up in 1943. Beautification of the area was a top priority, especially around the beach reserve and sporting areas. A separate Mairangi Domain Board was gazetted in March 1933 and it managed what is now the Mairangi Bay Park, between Hastings Road and Ramsgate Crescent.
The Mairangi Bay Ratepayers’ and Householders’ Association was then registered on 25 February 1944. The latter’s aims and objectives were quite detailed: the acquisition and development of reserves and foreshore, the beautification of roads and reserves, the improvement and protection of public facilities, the improvements of means of access and the improvement of means of communication. These were with Waitemata County to 1954, and East Coast Bays Borough (later City from 1975) after that. This Association was dissolved in May 1980 and the Association’s correspondence with the Registrar of Incorporated Societies says they had no surviving books or records.
The Campbell’s Bay Progressive Association dated from 1937 to 1964. It arranged the planting of many trees in Centennial Park. The Murrays Bay Progressive Association dated from 1941 to 1960. Hopefully the minute books and other records of these and other Associations mentioned below will surface at some stage.
The Torbay Progressive and Ratepayers’ Association was formed at a meeting on 7 September 1943 and in 1954 had 531 members. Claude Kendall, Mayor of East Coast Bays Borough from 1956 to 1959, was a former President of this Association. That Association was dissolved in 1963.
The Rothesay Bays Advancement Association was registered as an incorporated society on 8 March 1945 and renamed the Rothesay Bay Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association on 22 May 1956. It was dissolved in 1959.
The East Coast Road Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association was first formed on 22 July 1950 and wound up in March 1966, although it appears to have been inactive since 1963. Its aims and objectives were to foster and assist public services, transport amenities, represent the community at town planning hearings and erect and manage a hall. The President from 1950 to 1953 was Reginald Henry Greville, who was later Mayor of East Coast Bays Borough from 1954 to 1956 and 1959 to 1962. Greville lived on the western side of East Coast Road, and most committee members appear to have lived in the Browns Bay area. The Association later revived in 1969 and lasted to 1982.
By David Verran