Home is where the heart is, and all the suburbs of the Shore hold a special place in different hearts for different reasons. We love getting out around the Shore, talking to local characters who love where they live. This month, our Bays resident Nikki Davidson went out to meet community-hearted Geoff Ockleston, a familiar face in Browns Bay, about what he loves about Shore life...
What do you love most about living in the Browns Bay area?
Having spent many years at sea with the New Zealand Navy and cruising around the Hauraki Gulf, I like to stay close to the sea.
How long have you lived here?
For 43 years. We brought up our family here.
What activities or organisations are you involved with? Why are you passionate about this?
East Coast Bays RSA, the Browns Bay Business Association, North Shore Cadet Forces and Special Olympics. I know the community pretty well and enjoy pulling people together to help make things happen. The Cadets are a great organisation for young people, creating so many opportunities for them. And spending time with the Special Olympians, I enjoy seeing people with intellectual disabilities indulging in a sporting activity of their choice.
What else might you be involved with if you had more time?
I'd do a bit more cruising around the Gulf with some of the good books I still haven't read. And I'd find a place to sit down and write a book about my family history and my own experiences in life.
Tell us about a place that is a secret gem in Browns Bay?
The cobbler working out of a shipping container on Bute Road. He does a good job on traditional services as well as key cutting.
Do you have a favourite local event that you look forward to each year?
There are two: First is ANZAC Day when our Dawn Parade, being the only one on the North Shore, attracts a few thousand people paying their respects.
The other is the Browns Bay Christmas Parade where you have all the different social groups and clubs involved. The roads are lined with people and the kids love it.
If you could change one aspect about your suburb what would it be?
The traffic! The density is becoming worse and when the Long Bay development is completed it will increase. The parking is also an issue with many suburban streets lined with cars on both sides making for a narrow width to get through.
Who would you most like to have as a neighbour and why?
I'd like to have my son and his family who've been in Christchurch a long time, as neighbours. I miss not seeing my grandchildren and great grandchildren growing up as often as we'd like.