In the early 1980s it was, according to long-time businessman and resident Charlie Robertson, just “a little seaside village” that, for people on the other side of the harbour in Tauranga, took nearly half an hour to drive to.

He should know. He came north from Taihape in 1978 after being given a chance to buy into a menswear business on what the locals call Mount Mainstreet. According to Google Maps it’s Maunganui Road.

Forty years on, Robertson’s Menswear is still going strong, although Charlie, now a proud owner of Winston’s Gold Card, is playing more and more golf while his son Jamie runs the show.

Early morning walkers on the way up

But in the intervening years that “little seaside village” of what Charlie reckons were “maybe three or four thousand” permanent residents has grown to host around 20,000, many of them living in homes with sea views worth at least two million dollars.

The northern end, next to Mauao – the Mount itself – is zoned for high-density residential occupation so is dominated by high-rise apartment blocks and multi-unit townhouse blocks.

Opening of (the first) Tauranga Harbour Bridge 1988

Charlie Robertson well remembers how things were.

“Mainstreet was very sparse. As well as a few shops, there were houses. There was no construction of any sort going on then.”

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