This was the place we were born and

This story begins and ends in a place known as the “old neighbourhood” which was located on Old Farm Road in the suburb of Hamilton East in Hamilton City. The old hood is not far from the local shopping centre which includes a dairy, laundrette, sushi bar, Chinese restaurant, and liquor store. The 24-hour garage is across the road next to the minimart and other shops built recently. Back in the day, there was an opportunity shop, wine cellar and cycle shop. Our story begins in the early 60s when the units in the neighbourhood were built. It will end in 2017 with the demolition of the 57 units.State housing is a part of our national identity. Some of us know of somebody who grew up in a state house or they have either grown up in a state house themselves. Some of the next generation of children have also been born and raised in a state house. The objective for house planners was to build a community where neighbours would become friends and they would look out for one another. In earlier times, the old neighbourhood was like this. People would watch your house and collect your mail if you went on holiday. Most people stayed in the old neighbourhood for a short time before moving on to another state housing block on the other side of town while others brought a home of their own. Others stayed and made it their home. Their children were born and raised in the old neighbourhood.     The children would play on the island in the Jebson Place cul-de-sac with their neighbourhood friends. Children growing up in the old neighbourhood in the mid-60s to the early 80s would spend most of their summer outdoors from morning until sunset. It was a time for exploring and discovering new and exciting things. The children and teens in the old neighbourhood would make their own fun. They were very resourceful. They built huts and trolleys, climbed trees and ran all over the neighbourhood chasing one another after school, on weekends and during the school holidays. The older ones took off to the river for a swim. Some went to the lake or pools in town.    The old neighbourhood was the place we were born and raised in. It is the place most of us think about when we talk about our childhood and teenage memories both good and bad. The old neighbourhood as we knew it growing up has changed over the years. Nearly all the original tenants have moved out or passed on. We were proud to call the old neighbourhood home. It was like a homestead. Our friends were always welcomed by our parents until they got annoyed with them.    All the units on the plot of grass have been demolished. The footpaths and the driveway entrances are the only reminders that people once lived there.  There is now just a plot of grass surrounded by a giant fence or wooden poles. In the background, there are motorists cruising along the ring road on Wairere Drive past the Badminton Hall, Roller Derby rink and tennis courts. They were the good times, the best times of all. There were more good times than bad and lots of laughter among the tears. We came in for tea at night, then watched TV for a while and had a bath. Afterwards, we would watch more TV until it was time for bed. Then we would get up in the morning and do it all again. We had an awesome time and most of all we had fun. Every day was a new adventure one we would reminisce about their memories as they grew older and had children and grandchildren of their own.