As part of the Howick 175 events and celebrations, we have asked Howick/Pakuranga residents to share some of their memories. Today we hear from Tom Rutherford whose family has a multi-generational connection to, among other things, Howick Coastguard.
William and Audrey (nee Carr) Rutherford moved to Howick from the Rutherford family farm in Bombay in 1923, building a house at the top of Selwyn Road where the newer All Saints Church is.
William was very involved within All Saints Church, as a member of the vestry, being a church warden and representing the parish as synodsman.
Audrey was involved with the Girl Guides, becoming Auckland’s provincial commissioner and starting Girl Guides in the Howick area.
To acknowledge her services to Guiding, Camp Rutherford at Whitford was named after her.
At the age of 90, she was able to officially open the camp, with granddaughter Linda opening the gate for her.
Jim and Jean Rutherford (nee Clements): Jean’s parents were prominent in the Otahuhu area, where her father Thomas was a borough councillor for 12 years and mayor from 1929 to 1935.
Jim and Jean moved to Howick in 1942, purchasing the Howick Garage in Ridge Road where the BP service station is. Between them they built a very successful business.
In his late 20s, Jim was a bit of an entrepreneur, with a bike repair shop, a job at the telephone exchange and he was a barber on Saturdays. He also ran the mail, newspaper and meat deliveries to Whitford and Maraetai.
In 1939, he joined the Howick Volunteer Fire Brigade, serving for 17 years.
Jim was also a founding member of the Howick Sea Rescue organisation, supervising the installing of the motor and fit-out of the first rescue boat at Howick Motors.
Jim and Jean were also very involved in community activities, including organising fund-raising carnivals and other events. Jean served as Howick Plunket Society president for many years.
In the late 1950s, they sold Howick Garage and set up a Todd Motors franchise, selling new Hillman and Chrysler cars, Dodge trucks and David Brown tractors, along with a used-car sales business in Otahuhu.
Throughout their married life, Jim and Jean lived in the Howick and Bucklands Beach areas.
Being Jim and Jean’s elder son, Tom Rutherford clearly remembers the original Howick Garage building being demolished and rebuilt his grandfather’s construction company, Thomas Clements Ltd, which also built the Star of the Sea convent in Granger Road, the obelisk on One Tree Hill, and St Stephen’s College at Bombay, coincidently on part of the original Rutherford farm.
He followed in his father’s footsteps in being a member of Howick Volunteer Fire Brigade for 13 years and Howick Sea Rescue/Coastguard for 36 years.
During that time, he was elected to the Royal NZ Coastguard Federation national board for seven years before retiring.
At the last Howick Borough Council meeting in 1989, he was awarded the Howick Citizen of the Year for services to the community.
To keep up the family tradition, his son Thomas was a member of Howick Coastguard, making it three generations. They’re proudly life members of the respected service organisation.