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Waterfronts and homes, 1900–1970When Kevin Ford was a child in the 1940s, his father worked as a watersider in Bluff. Each morning Kevin or his brother would get up early and walk up the road until they could see the harbour. If there was a ship in port their father would get up and go to work; if there was no ship he would sleep in.1 For most of the twentieth century, the vast majority of goods that came in or out of New Zealand were loaded and unloaded by watersiders like Kevin Ford’s father. Despite technological advances, the activities around shipping and ports were still shaped by the unpredictable oceanic environment, and as the Fords’ story demonstrates, the effects of the sea’s unpredictability did not stop at the port gate. Watersiders’ family members and their domestic spaces were equally influenced by the uncertain conditions of waterside labour and the broken rhythms of the global seaborne trade upon which New Zealand relied.