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Good deeds should not be forgotten.

At the end of 2015, a local character of Baylys Beach was diagnosed with a terminal disease.  A retired boat builder, David Saies had worked internationally on Americas Cup and Round the World yachts before returning to Baylys Beach and living a reclusive life, enjoying the beach and tinkering in his workshop. While a very private person, he wanted to leave the bulk of his estate to community groups.  With the help of his lawyer, Amanda Matich, and his executors, Graeme Ramsey and Josie Scott, Dave set out distributing grants to numerous groups and schools in Kaipara. 

However, his top priority was to help Baylys Beach, the place he and his dogs (Peanut and Foxy) called home. Dave saw two local needs:

    1 The lack of a space where community groups could meet and activities take place following the closure and removal of the Presbyterian Church hall.  Many of these groups had gone into abeyance as a result while other community initiatives were stifled as a result of there being no usable space available

    2 A lack of affordable accommodation for surf lifesavers when they were sent to the beach over the two week Christmas summer period, which was an ongoing threat to retaining this service let alone being able to expand this.  This also prevented local water safety training and development on our wild and dangerous west coast beach, the major beach for the northern Kaipara District.

Dave looked for a building for sale that could meet this needs.  Failing to find one he approached Council and offered to buy the vacant section at 52 Seaview Road with the express purpose of constructing a new and distinctive building that would meet these needs and improve the amenity of the community. Council was supportive and agreed to sell the section. Dave and his advisors researched, commissioned engineering reports and prepared a detailed specification.  He also appointed Haydn Andrewes as the builder, and Janka Nemeth of BoS Architecture, to design and build something special.  This was based on their demonstrated craftsmanship, capability and connection to Baylys Beach.

Dave then set up a Trust tasked with realising his vision and gifted money and shares to the Trust.  The Trustees appointed were Amanda Matich, Paula Mitchell, Dr Mike Hogan, Grant Suckling and Graeme Ramsey.  The inaugural meeting of the Trust together was in April 2016. 

The total value of the gift for this project was the largest single donation in living memory in Kaipara.  This has been added to by local donations in cash together with huge amounts of voluntary time, materials and discounts.

The Trust undertook design work and liaison with neighbours.  The benefactor was able to see the design and a model of the building before his death in July 2016. After a tortuous consenting process that took over 2 years, a Commissioner Hearing and considerable expense the necessary Consents were issued. By this time rising prices and consenting costs had created a funding shortfall. The Trust decided to start construction anyway and apply for grant help so that progress could be made. The JL Campbell Residuary Trust, NZ Lotteries Board, Provincial Growth Fund and lots of local donors stepped up. The work schedule was not halted, nor did residents stop volunteering.

There is huge excitement and relief that this project is now complete and the clear local needs that Dave saw are being realised. Community groups once again have a venue for classes and activities. In addition, the architectural significance of the design is being recognised as a major amenity improvement.


A long and continuing history of  incidents has given impetus to water safety training and surf lifesaving. It has reinforced the need for this facility. This Centre is now becoming a major hub of this community. We all want it to continue well into the future, building us as a community and celebrating our diversity, our collective histories and this special, wild place.

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