Traveling home over the Tongariro Crossing we pulled off to the site of Lake Rotoaira and Motuopuhi Island.  I was struck by the number of fantails flitting through the bush, and the tragic tale of this Island – once the site of a Pa of the chief Wharerangi, who reluctantly protected Ngāti Toa leader Te Rauparaha. Te Rangikoaea, the wife of Wharerangi, stood over the kūmara (sweet potato) pit where Te Rauparaha was hiding, thus ritually shielding him from those using spiritual means to find him. The incident became the basis for Te Rauparaha’s famed ‘Ka mate’ haka. Motuopuhi was formerly a peninsula, which became an island when the lake level was raised by the Tongariro power scheme.  There was an horrific slaughter here in the 1820’s, and if you would like to read more of the history visit

shed blood
only piwakawaka remain

The mountain in the background is Tongariro.



Took a trip today up the Coast, to look for fossils and to give Bert a run at the beach.  Turned off the highway at the little town of Maxwell, and couldn’t resist photographing this old Church.  We travelled on from there to Ototoki Beach, which was an amazing place and thoroughly enjoyed by us all – more of that place in the next couple of posts.  So many of these wee churches dotted around the New Zealand countryside.  This one looks as though the front porch roof was lowered at some stage.