The morning of the fourth day featured a 6 hour cruise to Paterson Inlet. The previous night I took Sealegs pills and was somewhat anticipating a repeat of the rough seas of the other day. However, this time we had the tide behind us and although there was a slight roll the journey was pretty smooth. Certainly this time we could sit in the saloon and read or chat or enjoy a cup of tea.
After a delicious lunch a local guide called Bevan arrived on the Wanderer to give us a bit of a talk about the afternoon’s walk on a very special area called The Neck.
The Neck is just an anglicised version of the Māori name, O Neke. It’s a very narrow strip of land across which original Māori inhabitants would lay down vegetation (neke) so that they could more easily drag their waka (canoes) between the two bodies of water.
After the talk we did the walk — an easy stroll one hour each way along undulating mowed grass to a hut where we had a cup of tea and a biscuit.
This part of Rakiura was set aside back in the day (out of what became a National Reserve) for those who were of mixed heritage: to be a Māori here requires that you can trace your ancestry back to both Māori and non-Maori ancestors. Non-Maori included whalers and sealers from various countries, escaped slaves from America and various others.
The intention was to foster multi-cultural relationships and ways of living together.
That means that people have lived and farmed here — growing wheat or potatoes to trade with whaling ships, or even running animals. It also means there’s plenty of gorse and other exotic species.
Saturday 24 July 2021