57. Rainbows in Kerikeri, the Bay of Islands

In Kerikeri I met up with my cousin, and also some old friends came and stayed overnight so we spent our time together seeing sights in and around the area.

I’ve been reading A Short History of the New Zealand Wars by Gordon Mclauchlan, so my blogs might reflect some of what I’ve read over the next while.

The Rainbow Falls – the NZMCA park up is right next to these; magic.
Rainbow Falls spray out a long way, and as long as there’s a bit of sunshine behind you, you can always catch a sight of a rainbow here.
Walking on the track from the top of the Rainbow Falls to the bottom, we had our first experience of washing our shoes in the fight against kauri dieback – this was to stop our shoes from picking up spores from one area of infected kauri forest and spreading them to another. First you scrape all the dirt from your shoes, then you step on the plate which makes you sink while disinfectant sprays upwards onto the soles of your shoes. We were requested to do this both on entering and exiting the forest.
We become quite wet standing at this lower view point – the spray has a long reach.
This stone building and the house in the photo below formed two of the buildings of the Kerikeri Mission Station built in the 1800’s, and are the only ones still standing.

The Mission was constructed next to Kororipo where a lot of Maori lived (photos below), which was very usual as missionaries worked to convert Maori to Christianity. All over Northland and the Far North you can visit mission stations; many of them are next to or very near Maori Pa (fortified sites) or kainga (villages) where they were welcomed by a succession of Maori chiefs.

Many Maori took to the arrival of Pakeha for the seeds and technology they brought, not yet realising that much of their land would be ‘confiscated’ (stolen) over ensuing decades (by government forces, not missionaries). By the time the missionaries arrived, Maori already had a strong trade going in the Bay of Islands, not only in seafood, but also in crops, having obtained seeds via the earlier wave of whalers and sealers to NZ. The reason Maori loved access to seeds so much was that before the arrival of Pakeha NZ supported little food that held vital vitamins and minerals, making food an ongoing struggle.

The stone building is considered the first one built from stone in New Zealand, being erected in 1832. It is now a shop, with a small museum upstairs.
Kemp House, where the missionaries and related families lived. It’s now a cafe.
The gardens surrounding Kemp House, like the Busby’s house at Waitangi, were built in the English tradition.
This is the oldest pear tree in New Zealand, having been planted by missionary Samuel Marsden, in 1819.
This one is very well cared for, and still bears fruit – amazing! It reminds me of the ones at Butchers Dam in Central Otago – though those ones are slightly younger.
This is the entry to Kororipo. The Ngapuhi chief at the time of the missionaries arrival was Hongi Hika, who had won this site in battle against iwi living to the south.
Kainga – village – grounds. The kainga developed with the arrival of missionaries, when Hongi Hika pulled down the fortifictions of the Pa, having achieved enough power that no one else was coming to raid and take over Kororipo.
The missionaries realised Kororipo was a good place to set up a Mission House because of the support and the protection they had from Hongi Hika, along with two other Ngapuhi chiefs Rewa and Tareha.
Hongi Hika always liked the missionaries, but he grew to distrust government soldiers.
The Pa site – before Pakeha arrival, Maori controlled the Kerikeri Inlet and food sources from this strategically placed hill, meaning that whoever held it also held the power. No doubt it has been the site of many battles over the past few hundred of years as power has moved and shifted around.
There once would have been fortified fencing all around this hill, and the ditch and other diggings were designed as defenses.
This stretch of water is where Maori warriors once paddled around and around, faster and faster, making a kororipo or whirlpool, and heating their blood up, before paddling away to fight battles with other iwi.
It is now known as the Kerikeri Basin.
We walked on a bridge across the inlet, mangrove city! Mangroves have thick leaves, shiny on top to reflect heat from the sun, and white and furry underneath to retain all the water they can, while still enabling salt to leach out.
Rewa’s Village by the Kerikeri Basin – we didn’t get to see this as it was closed – it just opens for two days per week. Rewa was one of the Ngapuhi chiefs who supported the arrival of the missionaries in Kerikeri.
Looking back on Kororipo…
…and the Mission Station.
You can actually walk from the Mission Station/Kororipo Pa to the Rainbow Falls, so we did a short stretch of it.
We went through a lovely patch of totara forest – just totara; it reminded me somehow of the rimu forest we walked through at Curio Bay.
This pukeko seemed happy and settled while it dried it’s wings out.
Beautiful sun through bright green leaved trees – photos never do enough justice…
The Fairy Pools.
The next day we visited the Haruru Falls and walked from there to Waitangi, an easy 5 kilometres.
Across the river we could see the Waitangi Holiday Park; looks like a great place to stay.
There’s a rainbow over the Haruru Falls!
Fun for someone…
We crossed a boardwalk through the Hutia Creek Mangrove Forest.
The tide was fully out, and we could hear loud popping sounds – these were coming from shrimp that live in the mud, opening and closing their nippers.
Another information board here told us that in the Far North mangroves grow big enough that they have a forest canopy, and that healthy mangroves are a sign of a healthy coastline.
I took this photo of Hutia Creek while crossing over it on a long wooden bridge.
A ‘failed’ shot of a woodpigeon – several times as I moved to get a good shot, it also moved until it was hidden once more behind branches; who says birds are birdbrains?
We ended up at Waitangi, in the Whare Waka Cafe – after eating we watched the eels for a while. Terry raced back along the track to drive one of the cars and pick us all up.

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