Place by the sea with brilliant neighbours

Kakanui’s Verna Chambers, pictured at her home which features views of the Kakanui mountains....
Kakanui’s Verna Chambers, pictured at her home which features views of the Kakanui mountains. Photo: Daniel Birchfield
If the idea of visiting a quiet seaside town appeals, then Kakanui may well be the place. for you. Daniel Birchfield catches up with a resident of the small town, just a short drive from Oamaru, who would no doubt agree.

Verna Chambers has lived in the seaside township of Kakanui for 45 years and can’t think of anywhere else she would rather be.

When she decided she wanted to move south, Ms Chambers  secured a job in Oamaru as a school teacher, and settled on Kakanui as her place of residence.

She’s been there ever since.

"I got a job here, I had moved back [to Wellington] from overseas and, of course, was looking for work and managed to find one in Oamaru, living here. I’ve stayed, so I must like it. I’ve never been anywhere else since."

Ms Chambers enjoyed Kakanui because it was quiet and  because she had "brilliant neighbours".

"It’s nice to know if you need a bit of a hand with something people are there.

Over time she has seen significant improvements made to Kakanui’s infrastructure, while there had also been plenty of change from a social perspective.

"A lot of people now live here permanently instead of spending time in cribs. That’s probably the biggest change. I think people have realised it’s a nice spot and have come and decided to stay I suppose. That’s quite cool."

The views she has from her Burnett St home, of the seaand the Kakanui mountains,have also encouraged her to stay.

"I’m quite happy here," she said.

- Daniel Birchfield



• Population — 372  ( 2013 census )

Kai Tahu used to temporarily occupy Kakanui as they travelled north and south

• Kakanui is famed for its new-season potatoes, but also produces tomatoes, cucumbers and capsicums

• Many of New Zealand’s top cricket venues use Kakanui soil on their wicket blocks.

• Kakanui’s main beach, known as Campbell’s Bay, provides the first surfable break and the first safe swimming beach (apart from Timaru’s Caroline Bay) south of Banks Peninsula.

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