45. Timaru, Moeraki Boulders and Kakanui Coastline

In Timaru, I went and spent a couple of hours in the Te Ana Maori Rock Art Centre which is set within the Information Centre. It was an awesome exhibition and didn’t only focus on Rock Art but also gave a lot of information about how Maori lived in the area both before and after Pakeha (non-Maori New Zealanders) arrived. It was beautifully set up and better still I had full permission to take photos and touch everything possible – fabulous as I typically have real trouble stopping myself from touching and sniffing things in museums. What couldn’t be touched was set behind glass to keep it protected from desirous sweaty fingers, like the original rock arts.

There was a real mokihi, a river boat ingeniously built from bundles of harakeke/flax flower stems which I fell in love with. My tour guide said back when they were used a lot, mokihi would become waterlogged after a few hours in the water, so they kept several at a time at strategic points along the river so you could swap out of a wet one to let it dry out, and jump into a dry one. They were shared between different travellers, who always ensured one was left for others to use.

I felt this muka, or soft fibre, beaten from harakeke/flax leaves – it was so lovely and soft. It was once the main fabric used to make clothing in NZ.
This is also muka, woven to show how it was once used to create clothing and weaving.
These are the basic materials for the rock art found in the region. Maori rock art has only been found in South Canterbury and Otago, and sites are protected behind fences for tourists to view, or cut from their parent rock and kept in museums.
We drove on to the intriguing Moeraki Boulders.
Due to the way calcite laid itself down in cracks that formed in the mudstone boulders after they were lifted out of the sea, these rocks are known by the term septarian. Some of the bigger boulders took 4 – 5.5 million years to form.
Tourists walking in amongst the boulders, lots of us!
As with the tree trunks of Curio Bay, there used to be a lot more boulders here, but many were taken away before it became illegal to do so.
Red billed gulls…
Leaving Moeraki we drove past these beautiful bridges near Waianakarua…
We stopped and walked along to the Waianakarua river mouth. This photo shows the north, towards Kakanui.
This one shows the Waianakarua river mouth…
The river mouth had lots of red billed gulls, oyster catchers and terns all sitting together to make one big flock.
We stopped closer to Kakanui and found the rocks made up of the lovely Kakanui brecchia…
A brecchia is a rock that is made up of other, older rocks that have broken up and mixed together through erosion, then re-sedimented into a new rock. Thus they can contain a variety of minerals and sometimes even fossils.
Beaut beach
Driving on, all along the coast here we saw more Kakanui brecchia.
Lots of bracchiopods were washed up on the beach along with other shells and animal fragments.
Black backed gulls out there on the rocks...
…and oyster catchers
…and Kevin! Wings tucked in, just like the birds.
Nicely weathering layers in the sediments.
The seaside village of Kakanui South
Still driving north, another look back towards Kakanui/Kakanui South, now sadly in the distance. It never gets easier to leave all these beautiful places.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s