Hiking Group


 

Manginangina

Last Wednesday six of us were tourists in our own part of the world.

We first visited the giant kauri grove and swamp forest traversed by the Manginangina Kauri Walk. Who would not be inspired by the majesty of the magnificent arboreal sentinels towering overhead? These trees are repositories of the history of this land and their fervent whispers can be heard (or felt) if one listens with an open heart.

Kauri 2

Mangingagina walk

 

Next stop was the Puketi Forest recreation area and the one hour nature trail circuit. Alongside more giant kauri are equally majestic specimens of totara, rimu, kahikatea (New Zealand’s tallest tree) and other citizens of the Far North’s podocarp forest. Many of the trees are labelled so it is an opportunity to learn a little every time one visits. I was particularly taken with gorgeous leaves of ramarama.

Pat, Richard and Kauri

Pat, Richard and Kauri

The growth and form of the mountain neinei pictured below (a photo I took in the Waipoua Forest a couple of years ago) makes me wonder if Theodore Geisel (Dr Seuss) visited these forests as inspiration for his depiction of trees in his widely read illustrated children’s books.

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After a most civilized lunch at a picnic table in the campground (entertained by Bill, his unique travel-anywhere-coffee-maker and the tent-erecting antics of four young European visitors) we entered another rugged back-country Puketi Forest track.

Bill's Camp Coffee

Bill’s Camp Coffee

Afterwards Richard went off with Pat as she needed to get home as soon as possible to shower and eat before heading off for a Bay of Islands Singers practice.

That left Bill, Brian, Lucia and me to meander home.

The last time our Wednesday Walkers visited Puketi Forest (the Waihoanga Gorge Kauri Walk) we finished the day with blueberry ice cream at Blue River Orchard in Waipapa. That late summer visit took place just two days before the orchard’s cafe was to close for the season. Fortuitously yesterday’s visit came just two days after the cafe reopened for the new season of blueberries!

There’s something special about eating an ice cream or a pure blueberry sorbet alongside blocked plantings of the very bushes the blueberries come from. And it is equally special to watch the young people (WWOOFERs?) sorting the fruit on conveyors as we made our purchases.

But it was what happened next which demonstrated that in New Zealand we experience only two degrees of separation.

We joined two women, Betty and her daughter Pauline, already seated at a shaded picnic table. Betty McPherson (nee Murray) recently celebrated her 80th birthday and moved back to the Far North from Auckland. She was born and raised in Whangape and as we worked our way through our delicious cones Betty regaled us with tales of her youth.

“We had none of those big water tanks to catch rain water like houses have today and the winter stream would dry up when the rains stopped.” Each year summer droughts (I wonder if the earlier deforestation contributed to this) drove local Maori families over a daunting hill to the coast north of the Whangape Harbour where permanent fresh water cascaded from the cliffs. Summer shelters (whare) were constructed of nikau palm fronds. Betty’s brothers fished and everyone gathered shell fish. A red frilly seaweed, Pterocladia lucida, was picked and sold for agar production.

There were no cars. Everyone walked or travelled on horseback. There was little reason for theft as everyone worked together and shared. As Betty explained, that beautiful way of life withered and disappeared with the urbanization of Maori beginning in the 1950s.

Betty grew up with the Lunjevich family (Lucia’s brother’s relations). That’s part of the two degrees of separation. The other part had to do with some connection Betty had (which I can’t quite remember) with Boy Yates, Bill’s neighbour in Parapara.

Back in her training college days Betty was part of a contingent sent to China. That three week trip in the Chinese summer of 1976 coincided with the earthquake that struck Tangshan, a shoddily built mining city, and killed half a million people. That same trip coincided with the death of Chairman Mao. How’s that for timing on your only trip to China?

We warmly bid farewell to Betty and Pauline and made a final stop at the Kahoe Farm Hostel past the Otangaroa turnoff on State Highway 10. Here we bumped into (2 degrees of separation?) Mike Johansen, a font of local knowledge and the man owning the farm we walk through when visiting the Kahoe Rock Pools. He told me of, amongst other things, a cold water volcano situated on the roadside just at the turnoff to Whangape after having passed through Broadwood. Whangape again. Mike said that geologists from the University of Auckland regularly visit this unique example of tectonic activity. I’d like to investigate this.

Many thanks to Bill Guthrie for the photos.

 

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Radio host, librarian, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.wordpress.com

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

“The author’s experiments and experiences working with nature simply amaze. . . . Beyond the Search is a treasure trove for those who enjoy planting and reaping as it seems nature intended, with respect for each animal and insect as belonging on the planet and therefore deserving of honour.”

Theresa Sjoquist on Suite 101

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Horse photo near Ngataki by chris Farrell

We recently made a walk to the pine plantations of Nga Taki and had one of our wettest walks ever. It was fun though. There’s a reason to visit this area aside from the subconscious desire to get soaked to the skin. There are familites of wild horses in the area. The photo above was taken on a visit by Tom and Chris to the same place on a fine day recently.

It is actually amazing to contemplate the efforts that have in the course of something like fifty years transformed the extensive runaway sand dunes of the Aupouri Peninsula into the productive farms, avocado orchards and rotational pine forests we see  today.

Men and women plant marram grass at Te Kao on the Aupōuri Peninsula in 1973. This was an early stage in stabilising these active dunes, which were later planted in radiata pine.

Men and women plant marram grass at Te Kao on the Aupōuri Peninsula in 1973. This was an early stage in stabilising these active dunes, which were later planted in radiata pine.

King Avocado orchards on the Aupouri Peninsula

King Avocado orchards on the Aupouri Peninsula

 

The photos coming first below show a visit to the Nga Taki area on a sunny day earlier this year.

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Ngataki Walk 005

 

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It may have been sunny for this autumn walk but we did have to wade through a little water as you’ll see in the next photo. Also a lot of fun!

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And now for the rainy day photos in October:

Lucia and John. Can you recognize us?

Lucia and John. Can you recognize us?

 

Where Chris and Tom saw the horse.

Where Chris and Tom saw the horse.

 

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Smiling before the rain.

Smiling before the rain.

 

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Lunch under a pohutukawa. This is when the rain really began.

Lunch under a pohutukawa. This is when the rain really began.

 

Lucia. Soaking wet.

Lucia. Soaking wet.

 

CLICK BELOW TO:

Subscribe to In Search of Simplicity by Email

Radio host, librarian, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.wordpress.com

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

“The author’s experiments and experiences working with nature simply amaze. . . . Beyond the Search is a treasure trove for those who enjoy planting and reaping as it seems nature intended, with respect for each animal and insect as belonging on the planet and therefore deserving of honour.”

Theresa Sjoquist on Suite 101

russell to opua 14 021

I’m happy to report that kindness is alive and well and thriving in New Zealand.

A few months back on a coldish winter Saturday I came out of work only to find the starter just ticking when turning the key. It would seem there wasn’t enough juice in the battery to turn over the engine.

Not belonging to AA I attempted a call to a friendly local mechanic. But being a Saturday he was not by his phone.

I had the bonnet up and was checking connections, at the same time knowing the battery was old and tired and probably on its last legs. A series of cold days and nights had in all likelihood contributed to this state of affairs.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, a car rolled up and out poured a bunch of energetic boys and two sturdily built men, all Maori.

“What’s the matter, mate?” asked one of the men.

They listened to my story and within a few minutes had jumper leads out and had boosted the battery.

I thanked them profusely. The men shrugged sheepishly as if what they had done was perfectly normal and all in a day’s work. Which I suppose it was; for them. They then all crammed back in their car and left as quickly as they’d arrived.

Kindness is alive and well and thriving in Kaitaia.

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russell to opua 14 013russell to opua 14 027

 

On a recent day off Lucia and I went to the Bay of Islands for a day out. We jumped on a ferry to Russell. It was a magnificent spring day, still and sunny. A bit of an exception to the rain and wind we’d had so much around equinox.

We sat by the beach in old Russell for a picnic lunch and were treated to a show by a large pod of dolphins, just offshore. There was plenty of tail slapping by some of the adults while one youngster shot straight out of the water in a joyous breach. A great start to our visit.

I wanted to show Lucia the track to Okiato and we thoroughly enjoyed the walk. It was an amazing day, remaining cloudless and still. But by the time we’d reached the car ferry to Opua neither of us was keen to walk the rest of the track to Paihia, where we’d left the car. We hadn’t really planned to walk so far and it was already nearly 5pm.

So we stood by the roadside in Opua with our thumbs out and within two minutes had a ride. Our benefactor, Trevor, had been enjoying the day on his yacht and was returning to Paihia to pick up his wife from their shop. He thought nothing of helping. It was all in a day’s work.

Kindness is alive and well and thriving in Aotearoa.

The photos are from our Wednesday walking group’s tramp from Russell to Opua in March, 2014.

 

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Radio host, librarian, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.wordpress.com

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

“The author’s experiments and experiences working with nature simply amaze. . . . Beyond the Search is a treasure trove for those who enjoy planting and reaping as it seems nature intended, with respect for each animal and insect as belonging on the planet and therefore deserving of honour.”

Theresa Sjoquist on Suite 101

Entrance to the home of Rod and Margie Davies

Entrance to the property of Rod and Margie Davies

The walk we took on September 10th carried us along Fern Flat Road to the home and pottery of Rod and Margie Davies. This couple have managed to sculpt out an enviable lifestyle in their beautiful rural location. They’ve raised two lovely daughters and their artistic pottery is available in galleries around the country. Over the years they’ve inspired others to take a chance and follow their creative passions.

It’s a restful road walk tracking a river and surrounded by green, often bush-clad hills. An appropriate choice considering all the rain we’ve had through the winter and early spring.

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photo 5

 

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photo 1

 

They grow big pigs in the Far North

They grow big pigs in the Far North

 

 

CLICK BELOW TO:

Subscribe to In Search of Simplicity by Email

Radio host, librarian, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.wordpress.com

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

“The author’s experiments and experiences working with nature simply amaze. . . . Beyond the Search is a treasure trove for those who enjoy planting and reaping as it seems nature intended, with respect for each animal and insect as belonging on the planet and therefore deserving of honour.”

Theresa Sjoquist on Suite 101

2 Gold Stairs

On September 17th a group of us completed one of my favourite walks -The Golden Stairs. The Whangape Harbour has a wild quality to it that is difficult to describe. The narrow fiord-like entrance must have taken many a ship in days gone by. The reefs there look treacherous.

We have a sister-in-law who grew up in the inner reaches of the harbour. The children hopped on a boat to go to school. What food they didn’t grow themselves was supplemented with the bounty of the sea which was on their doorstep. They owned no car and got off the peninsula they called home on horseback at low tide.

According to Cilla (our sister-in-law, a Lunjevich, by the way) the population was much higher then (the 1950s and 1960s) than it is today.

The pictures for this post were taken by Don Hammond. Included is a scan of an old photo showing the saw mill on the harbour’s edge (south side). There is almost nothing remaining today to indicate that the mill ever existed.

The third week in September is recognized as the time to find the kowhai in bloom in this part of the Far North. That’s where the name ‘Golden Stairs’ originates. The track is largely overgrown but dates back to early Maori days. I once read a story in the local book Tail of the Fish that described the pursuit of a Maori warrior across the Golden Stairs.

I trust you enjoy Don’s compiled photos as much as we enjoyed the walk. 

4 Gold Stairs3 Gold Stairs1. Whangape History

CLICK BELOW TO:

Subscribe to In Search of Simplicity by Email

Radio host, librarian, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives andBeyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.wordpress.com  In Search of Simplicity is now available as an eBook here.

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit:http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

“The author’s experiments and experiences working with nature simply amaze. . . . Beyond the Search is a treasure trove for those who enjoy planting and reaping as it seems nature intended, with respect for each animal and insect as belonging on the planet and therefore deserving of honour.”

Theresa Sjoquist on Suite 101

My thanks to George and Pauline for the beautiful photos from a walk we all agreed was a highlight of this year’s walking. It’s a long drive to Cape Reinga from whence this walk began and it was blustery and cool at the beginning. But before the day was out I’d had a couple of dips in the sea and waded in a creek to keep cool. The landscape is extraordinarily varied and there is a sense of being away from it all in this, the very north of the country. I trust you enjoy the photos of which I’ve only chosen to show a few. The complete album can be found here:  https://picasaweb.google.com/109798694876493156288/CapeMariaVanDiemenWalk

Cape Reinga. The meeting of two oceans.

Cape Reinga. The meeting of two oceans.

Ready to begin

Ready to begin: our destination is behind us in the distance.

For your information

For your information

Near beginning

Near beginning: Te Werahi below

Flax readying to bloom

Flax readying to bloom

Two Johns by the steep early cliffs

Two Johns by the steep early cliffs

Relentless seas.

Relentless seas.

Alma, John and Tom on the long stretch of Te Werahi. It's warming up!

Alma, John and Tom on the long stretch of Te Werahi. It’s warming up!

The climb up from Te Werahi

The climb up from Te Werahi

Flax Snails

Flax Snails

Dunes down to the beach below Cape Maria van Diemen

Dunes down to the beach below Cape Maria van Diemen

Stunning landscape.

Stunning landscape. Looking out to Motuopao Island

Skyscape

Skyscape

Windswept formations.

Windswept formations.

A dip at midday.

A dip at midday.

Cape Maria Van Diemen Lighthouse

Cape Maria Van Diemen Lighthouse

It is a working lighthouse.

It is a working lighthouse.

Motuopao. Where the lighthouse and lighthouse keeper used to be.

Motuopao. Where the lighthouse and lighthouse keeper used to be. Note treacherous currents.

Creek arriving at the sea.

Creek arriving at the sea. We followed it up.

Down the dune

Down the dune: It’s a sudden stop at the end.

George coming safely down the steep dune.

George coming safely down the steep dune.

Windswept formations

Two steps up and one step back.

Some of the crew enjoying ice cream at Te Paki.

Some of the crew enjoying ice cream at Te Kao. A just reward for a long day.

Radio host, librarian, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives andBeyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.wordpress.com  In Search of Simplicity is now available as an eBook here.

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit:http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

“The author’s experiments and experiences working with nature simply amaze. . . . Beyond the Search is a treasure trove for those who enjoy planting and reaping as it seems nature intended, with respect for each animal and insect as belonging on the planet and therefore deserving of honour.”

Theresa Sjoquist on Suite 101

This represents a new route we are exploring which creates a circuit walk including the Wairakau Stream, Lane Cove and Duke’s Nose.

We're about to head up the ridge.

We’re about to head up the ridge.

 

Koru pattern in nature

Koru pattern in nature

 

View over Whangaroa Harbour

View over Whangaroa Harbour

 

Looking out to Taratara.

Looking out to Taratara.

 

New Zealand Clematis

New Zealand Clematis

 

 

Radio host, librarian, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.wordpress.com

 

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

 

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

 

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

 

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

 

“The author’s experiments and experiences working with nature simply amaze. . . . Beyond the Search is a treasure trove for those who enjoy planting and reaping as it seems nature intended, with respect for each animal and insect as belonging on the planet and therefore deserving of honour.”

 

Theresa Sjoquist on Suite 101

 

 

 

 

 

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