On to Heretaunga

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I always enjoy Mahia, but it was time to move on. The skies hard darkened again, so even if I’d wanted to, I couldn’t film again for a few days… but I don’t need to.

There a few points I was bothered about, but on reviewing the video I’m sure that it’s all fixable in the editing. Here’s hoping. I now have a few more pre-shoot checks to make:

I need to check that my glasses aren’t on too crooked, that the lens hasn’t picked up some dust or spray, and that I’m evenly lit across my face .

If the light is directly across me i.e. my face if half lit and half shaded, then the camera keeps adjusting the aperture according to what’s in the centre of the frame… and that makes the background keep going light and dark. I can either manually set the aperture, or stand in a more evenly lit position.

This isn’t as simple as it sounds. If I stand in an evenly lit position, then I may not have the right stuff behind me, or can’t point to the things I’m talking about. And fixing the aperture sounds easy, except, I have to be stood in the frame to set it… and if I’m stood in the frame then I can’t set it because I’m IN the frame… out of reach of the controls on the camera.

Anyway, it’s all more leaning on what to do and not do. At least I’m on top of the sound issues now. Now that I have my cables re-wired I can hear the sound in playback on the camera, which I never had before… I wouldn’t pick up any wind noise, or clothing rustle until I was back at the van editing… and by then it was too late.

So, all in all, Mahia worked out well. It took longer than I’d have liked, but then, I’m not in control of the weather.

Mahia to Napier

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I drove back to Wairoa, and topped up my fuel there, and then it was back over the top to Napier. I really wanted to get some pictures of the Napier to Gisborne railway line (now disused), it’s an engineering marvel. But getting good photo angles was tricky, and when I did see a nice shot I couldn’t stop or turn.

The railway picks a line through and across steep sided valleys until it drops back down by the Esk River, and it left me wondering just how the people from the Kurahaupo made it through here.


There really were wild goats all over the road for the next 2 hours

Their hard work would have started about where the sign said “Beware of Goats next 70 km”… and they were right about the goats.

The Kurahaupo people were, as far as I understand it, on foot, and there were no roads or tracks. They also had no pack animals or wheels, so they had to carry everything on their backs… and they had to cross at least five significant rivers; Nuhaka, Wairoa, Mohaka, Waikere, and Esk to get to where they were going. None of these can be avoided without a huge detour.

I am going to do some more research locally. The Kurahaupo people had a lot of stuff to move, so it would make a lot more sense if they had used the coast, and moved by boat. If I had the choice of carrying stuff, or paddling it in boats, I know which I would do. I would take the time to build canoes. I am also wondering if they managed to rescue one of the Kurahaupo hulls… Napier library tomorrow!

Lake Tutira

Lake Tutira

I’m sorry I’ve not captured some of that scenery between Mahia and Napier to show you, but finding good vantage positions was difficult. The photo’s I did get weren’t good. You’ll have to make do with this picture of Lake Tutira instead. It is a DOC campsite, so I thought I’d check it out as I was passing. It would be a wonderful place to stop in summer, and is duly noted.

It was getting dark by the time got through Napier. The Council here will fine you for ‘freedom camping’, but also provides free locations for people like me with vans that are ‘Self Contained’. From their list of campsites I’d picked out two likely looking ones.

I didn’t get past the first.

As soon as I pulled up I could see it had all five boxes ticked; stunning view, quiet, clear line of sight for the satellite dish, clear above for the solar panels, and flat. As I parked I found it had another wonderful attribute… live music.

In the fading light the lady in the bus next to me was stood outside playing her violin, and she was very good. I don’t know who you are Lady, but Bravo!, it was wonderful, thank you.

By mid-morning, most of the people had gone, including the violin lady. They had been parked on the turfed, grassy meadow part of the campsite, and it had rained well in the night. The field was turning to mud and they all moved on before bogged in became a liklihood. I am parked on the stones of the shore-meadow margin, and can’t sink in.

I am on the coast immediately to the South of Napier, parked 15 paces from the high tide mark (and a metre above it!). Facing out to sea I have Napier to my left, and Cape Kidnappers to my right. Each is about 7 km away.

The view here would be stunning but unfortunately, it can’t be seen through the drizzle, and it looks as though this is set in for a few days.

Tomorrow I’m going to ‘reccie’ the Otatara Pa to work out exactly where I want to stand to say which bits. But for filming I need a clear day as I need line of sight from the Pa back to the Mahia Peninsula and across to Mt Ruapehu. Both are visible from there… but only on a decent day… and I may not get that until Sunday.

We’ll see. As I said before, I’m not in charge of the weather.

There’s another reason I think that the Kurahaupo people might have moved by canoe and not walked… and it’s to do with the name they call the place they settle at; ‘Heretaunga’. But I’m going to leave you guessing about that one for a while.

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