DOCUMENT

6 S A R A H H I L L A R Y I n the Olaf Petersen Collection at Auckland Museum is an image taken in the mid-1960s of Sarah Wheeler (later McIntyre). I was immediately struck by the sense of freedom it conveys. The photograph, titled Vantage Point , 1966 (fig. 1.1), depicts a young girl sitting high up in an upturned dead tree with the clear sky behind. Sarah, who is around six or seven years old, appears com- pletely at ease perched at this height. The sun is low on the horizon, resulting in strong contrasts of light and shadow and, although in black and white, there is a tremendous warmth to the image. Petersen was a friend of Sarah’s father and spent a great deal of time at Te Henga (Bethells Beach), the closest beach to his home in Swanson, and his favourite. To me this beautiful and strong image epitomises so many of our childhoods from the time. Petersen also took photographs of my family, including some in the garden of our home in Auckland, for a newspaper article in about 1961, but I prefer the less posed shot of me taken in Rānui in the city’s western suburbs a few years later (fig. 1.2). As we were normally forbidden to eat sweets or to have fizzy drinks, I was taking this golden opportunity to take an illicit swig. The places that Olaf Petersen photographed on Auckland’s west coast form some of my earliest memories: I was taken on holidays to White’s Beach on the Anawhata Road, a beach slightly north of Piha, from when I was just a small baby. I remember sleeping on a sagging wire-wove bed in the closed veranda outside my maternal grandparents’ room at the Te Waha cottage. It was located between the food safe and the doors to the outside, the wooden floor was painted a deep red, Figure 1.1 PREVIOUS SPREAD Olaf Petersen, Vantage Point , 1966. Figure 1.2 RIGHT Olaf Petersen, Sir Ed Hillary’s Little Daughter Quenching Her Thirst , c. 1960.

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