Tuesday 28 July 2020

A Historic Tiki Tour of Waimate North

Catch-up; Northland Jan 2019 

While David recuperated from his bout of shingles I took myself off on several tiki-tours around Northland, the first one on a several squiggly loops to check out a number of churches and historic places in the wider Waimate North area. Northland has a multitude of small & historic churches and I was keen to add a few more to my church photo collection.

My first stop was on SH1 just south of Ohaeawai, at the historic Pakaraka Anglican Church of the Holy Trinity and probably one of the most visited & photographed churches in Northland due to it's location on the main highway. 

The church is Gothic Revival in style and the slim steeple is a replica of the original tower which blew down in a storm in 1946. The new steeple was erected in 2001, 55 years later. The Reverend Henry Williams, one of the first Anglican missionaries stationed in the Bay of Islands and later Archdeacon of Waimate, is buried in the cemetery.

The next church is located on a back street, not far along the road at Ohaeawai, which is a small settlement at the junction of SH1 & SH12. I believe this is an Anglican church but I could find no other reference to it and it's obviously taken a back seat to several other more historic & prominent churches in the area. Like many of the churches around New Zealand, this one is sadly heading to a state of disrepair...

...unlike the nearby Ohaeawai Hotel (locally know as The Crossroads) which looks to have recently had a fresh lick of paint. I bet this grand old lady could tell a few stories if only the walls could talk. 

My next stop is at Te Waimate Mission where the remains of a model English village, built by missionaries is located. The Mission House, built in 1832, is the only survivor of three mission houses built in 1830 on behalf of the Church Missionary Society by the Reverend Samuel Marsden (click photo to enlarge)

The Mission House is also New Zealand's second oldest building. I felt a bit mean about not going inside to check it out; I was in a bit of a hurry. And especially as I was the only visitor in the grounds and the volunteer guide came outside to greet me. I had to tell him I was on a mission (no pun intended!) 

Te Waimate was New Zealand's first farm and had a very famous visitor; scientist & evolutionist Charles Darwin stayed here for the Christmas of 1835.

Nearby and part of the mission station is St John the Baptist Church which was originally built in 1839 and then rebuilt in 1870 using materials from the first church. the new church was much smaller due to the drop in congregation numbers. 

Located between the Mission House & the church is the Sunday School building, built in 1880

Not far down the road, and part of the original mission settlement are the remains of Bedggood Cottage & the Blacksmiths Shop.

The Blacksmiths shop collapsed in 1979 and was reconstructed in 1986 using the original building's materials.

From the mission I next headed to the historic St Michael's Anglican Church at Ngawha.

St Michaels Church was built in 1871 and is located on the site of Pene Taui's Pa, which is where Te Ruki Kawiti successfully defended the Pa against British forces in what is known as the Battle of Ohaeawai. It was built by local Maori as a symbol of peace and a tribute to Pakeha who had died in the battle.
On 1 July, 1845, almost 600 troops and 300 warriors of Tāmati Wāka Nene besieged about 100 men at a pā at Ōhaeawai led by Lieutenant Colonel Despard. Te Ruki Kawiti held off the attack on the highly intricate and fortified pā of Ngāti Rangi chief Pene Taui. The fortifications were ground-breaking in every way, and became one of the prototypes for gunfighter warfare in later engagements. 
The pā had two palisades - including a strong inner fence made of puriri logs set almost two metres into the ground with five metres of log standing above ground. The solid palisades of the inner fence had withstood the artillery attack and remained intact, preventing the British from entering the pā. Meanwhile, the firing trenches proved devastatingly effective against the attackers. "Within seven minutes of the attack beginning, over 47 of the attackers lay dead with about 70 more injured. The attack was an unmitigated disaster."
By 8 July, the pā was found to have been abandoned and the defenders had disappeared into the night. Lieutenant Colonel Despard suffered a defeat. (extract from RNZ)

From St Michaels I headed down the highway towards Kaikohe, stopping to check out the Kaikohe Showgrounds & Equestrian Centre which is a NZMCA CAP (costs apply parking). It's where I thought we'd stop for our first night once David was ready to move and we'd left our friends in Kerikeri. It's a great site, well maintained and with lots of space. There's even a couple of  sites with power.

The Showgrounds are on the corner of the road that leads to Ngawha Hot Springs so I drove off to take a look; I do love it when I'm on my own and I can pick & choose what to visit & where to stop. Poor David does get dragged down a few too many roads, it's nice not to feel guilty about it today. 

Ngawha Pools- there are 16 of them- are fed by a natural geothermal spring and come in a range of temperatures including the 50 degree Bulldog pool which was closed (for obvious reasons!).

The Ngawha Pools will never look like this again, they are going through a major redevelopment and enhancement programme at the moment and have been closed from March 2020 until December 2020. Obviously the redevelopment was needed, the pools are very popular amongst both local & overseas tourists but it's a shame the unique character of the pools will be lost to flashy frontages and further health & safety features.

From Ngawha I drove into Kaikohe and up to the top of Monument Hill where there are great views out out over the surrounding farmland and from where I spotted the second to last church on my visit list today.

Monument Hill is named after the memorial that celebrates Hone Heke Ngapua who was the grandnephew of the war leader Hone Heke. Hone Heke(the warrior) retired & died in Kaikohe in 1850. 

Hone Heke Ngapua (grandnephew) was a member of parliament & active supporter of the Maori parliamentary movement known as Kotahitanga (click on the photo to read)

Hone Heke Ngapua Memorial

I drove down and along the highway to the Aperahama (Anglican) Church which was opened in 1885, the church I'd seen from Monument Hill. The church belongs to the Ngati Tautahi hapu (hapu= a division of a Maori tribe) & is essentially a Maori church although European families belonged to the congregation for many years. 

The church was restored & repainted in 1964 and is not only significant because of it's age but also because of its association with the development of the Maori Anglican faith.

The last stop for the day was at St Catherines Anglican Church near Okaihau.

Information panels across the road from the church tell about the first battle in 1845 of the Northern Wars and the memorial in the cemetery to the 12 fallen British soldiers. The Twin Coast Cycle Trail passes the church which is just as well as these information panels often provide a lot more information than what can be found on the 'net, especially history on the lesser known churches and historic places.

I know I missed a few other churches on my road trip, and in particular the Catholic church just up the road from this St Catherines. I had marked down as many as I could but it was quite hard locating them once I was on the road. Especially when much of the area was out of range to Mr Google when I went to check!  

I told myself that I had to leave some for our next visit to the north. From Okaihau, I took the most direct route back to Kerikeri. And didn't spare the horses, it had been a long day.

Monday 13 July 2020

Boating in the Bay of Islands

Catch-up (from way back when)

I bet that threw you. Bay of Islands? No we're still in the South Island (real time) but I decided the rest of the South Island catch-up blogs can wait. I'm now going to hopefully finish off the Far North & Northland blogs from, would you believe it, 18 months ago! I've had several requests from various people over the last few months asking when I was going to do them. I had afterall promised to finish them last winter! So here you are, lets see how the grey matter performs remembering it all.

Here's the link to the last blog from up north, we had stayed a few days before Christmas at the Wagener Holiday Park in Houhora and then returned to the NZMCA Tokerau Beach Park for Christmas & New Year (a very wet & damp holiday period). We then returned to Kerikeri in early January, 2019, left the rig on our friends Bruce & Barbaras' front lawn and headed to the Opua Marina to meet up with my sister, Gaelyn (Gae) & her husband David (yes another one) at their launch and spend three nights on the boat out in the bay. 

We're very familiar with Opua Marina, we sailed our boat up to the Bay of Islands from Tauranga and rented a berth at Opua for the summer a long time ago. While we spent most of our time out on the water we had a base to come back to when the weather packed up and/or we needed supplies.

Being the height of summer there were many luxury boats and super yachts anchored up between Paihia & Russell. I love the tender attached to this one, it's probably three times the size of our Takacat inflatable.

We rounded Tapeka Point...

...and met a steady stream of boats heading to and coming back from the islands, including the R. Tucker Thompson tall ship.

We motored into Honeymoon Bay (Hahangarua Bay) and headed towards a familiar launch, my sister's in-laws boat, we called out a hello and motored right on past, they were busy with other members of the family and, with what seemed, an awful lot of grandchildren. 

We carried on past several bays where many more boats were moored up. This one, Pipi Bay (Awaawaroa Bay), is a popular little cove & a favourite for New Years Eve parties.

We rafted up with friends in Indico Bay (Otiao Bay) and had a relaxing afternoon before we headed over to the mainland to pick Gae up from Parekura Bay on the Rawhiti to Russell Road.  She had driven up from Whangarei after finishing work late in the afternoon. 

As we passed the end of  Otehei Bay (Urupukapuka Island) I spied a very familiar boat; it was our old boat Quantum. After selling her in Tauranga, the last time we saw her was at Waikawa Marina in Picton and now here she was in the Bay of Islands. 

We had some fun times (and a few scary ones) exploring the coastline from the Bay of Plenty, in and around the Coromandel, through the Hauraki Gulf and right up to Whangaroa Harbour in the Far North. As much as we loved it on the water we wanted to explore the interior too, hence the reason (well one of the reasons) we moved from a boat to a 5th-wheeler. The transition was easy, we were used to living in a small space.

We collected Gae from the boat ramp at Parekura Bay and then made our way around into Assassination Cove, where they have a mooring, for the night. 

Unfortunately my David had missed out on most of the afternoon and much of the evening, he hadn't been feeling the best since leaving Opua and was downstairs on one of the beds.  

It was a glorious sunset as more boats motored in behind us and settled down for the night...

...as the golden hour turned into the blue hour and then the inky blackness of night fell across the quiet and calm bay. I say quiet, that was until friends rafted up and the food & drink started to flow. 

Poor David was still unwell and stayed in our cabin during the evening. He had a very restless night but felt a little better in the morning. The next morning my brother-in-law received a call from his parents boat, his mother was not well and his brother thought she needed to be taken to the medical centre. 

With all the grandkids and visitors on board their boat it was going to be easier for us to collect her and take her back to Russell to see the doctor.

We motored across to them, tied up and transferred a very pale and unsteady mother-in-law onto our boat and headed the 20 odd kilometres back into Russell. 

David had crashed again so we now had two patients on board, thankfully there was also nurse at hand if needed; Gae. And if things got desperate we could call on the local police Naiad RHIB boat which was moving about checking on the many holiday makers on the water.

One of the dozens of cruise ships that visit New Zealand over summer was berthed in the harbour between Russell & Paihia. Passengers were being transferred from the ship in tenders/liferafts to both towns.

Gae had called ahead to the medical centre and with no transport available an ambulance was sent to collect David's mother. It was waiting on the wharf when we arrived.

We also had to get permission to tie up (and stay) at the Russell wharf for an hour or so because security had it blocked off for the cruise ship tenders to offload passengers.

David & I stayed with the boat. And in fact David went back to bed, he still wasn't well and we should have made the decision then to call it a day and head back to Opua once the family were back on board. But he rallied a little and didn't want to put a damper on an already stressful day.

Once the others arrived back at the boat, David's mother re-hydrated and with the all clear from the Doctor, we headed back out to the islands once again.

Russell Waterfront

We dropped our patient back at her boat and spent the rest of the afternoon chilling on the boat in another bay.

There was another spectacular sunset which David missed as he was below deck once again. A nasty rash had also broken out on his lower back and he once again had a terrible night. Uh-oh...

The next morning the decision was made to head back into Opua, David was now very unwell and hadn't eaten for two days. It was time to get him to a doctor.

So much for a relaxing few days on the water....we headed off once again.

When we rounded Tapeka Point the small cruise ship from yesterday had been replaced with a monster one. 

We were dwarfed by the ship as we passed behind it.

The marina was very busy but we managed to offload at the casual berth. We sent Gae & David on their way, the third time in three days that the boat headed back out to the islands. 

David, looking deathly white, waited patiently with the gear while I walked to the carpark to get the ute. I loaded it up and we drove off back to Kerikeri and straight to the medical centre. And that was how we found ourselves staying on our friends front lawn for the next three weeks; David had shingles. And had a very bad reaction to them, we even had to make a trip to the Kawakawa Hospital at one stage because they thought he might have had meningitis.

And I might add here too that he had been to his doctor back in Tauranga to get the shingles vaccine and they had run out, he next went to a chemist at one of our stops and they too had run out so it wasn't for lack of trying that he missed out on it. All I can say (having had shingles too, 9 years ago) you wouldn't wish it on your worst enemy and I would highly recommend you get the vaccine if you're entitled to it.

We are forever grateful to Bruce & Barbara who gave us the space we needed but looked out for us each day too. And we would have been lost without a power supply on what turned out to be three weeks of glorious summer sun with temperatures in the late thirties every day. The air conditioning in the fifth-wheeler certainly earnt its keep that summer.

Leaving David to rest, I took myself on a few tiki-tours around the local area and enjoyed stalking several Californian Quail families and their bumble-bee sized chicks who passed through the garden each day.