A Rangiora family have notched up their 38th Christmas camping in the Marlborough Sounds.
Rangiora residents Mervyn and Sandra Higgs first brought their daughter Natasha Marshall to the Department of Conservation's Momorangi Bay campsite 38 years ago and the family have spent their Christmas and New Year's Eve holidays there, mostly at the same spot, ever since.
This year, the family had three tents, a campervan and a boat spread over their site under a tree overlooking the bay.
Mrs Marshall and her husband Simon brought their children Rhys, 8, and Ayla, 11, to the bay to spend time with their grandparents and cousins.
"We've been coming here since I was two, that was 38 years ago," Mrs Marshall said.
"We've been bringing the children here since they were 3-months-old, and we've seen other families come and go."
"We used to wash Rhys in the kitchen sink [in the campervan] - it was that long ago."
The family enjoyed the bay because they liked going out on the water, fishing and water skiing, and it was a safe environment for children. Mrs Marshall's sister owns a bach at the bay near the campsite.
"All the regulars know each other's kids and they help keep an eye on them . . . The older ones tend to have their sites down by the water but we like ours at the back, it's peaceful.
"At Christmas time we like to get away from everything while others like more of a view."
The camp will fill up today and tomorrow ahead of New Year's Eve and will empty out again around January 6 before a new set of campers come in, she said. The family usually stay at the site for about a month.
- The Marlborough Express