Morere and Mahia

King’s Birthday Weekend 3-5 June 2023- Morere / Mahia

Sat: As we drove along the Napier- Wairoa highway for a long weekend at Morere and Mahia we saw the aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle, with scoured out waterways, hillsides full of slips and the Waikare Bridge lying twisted and broken in the Waikare riverbed. We stopped briefly in Wairoa before heading north, turning onto the Waiatai Road to visit an old remnant of Forest and Bird Reserve with one of the largest specimens of Puka, supposedly in the North Island. We then continued on to the Morere Hot Springs Reserve – the hot pools were closed to a septic tank issue as was the shop and accommodation in the old shearer’s quarters- these are now owned by a Maori Trust. We parked the van just past the entrance on Tunanui Road and our party of nine set off just after 10.00am.

The Ridge track is wonderful with the nikau palms predominant along with matai, tawa, rewarewa, kohekohe and rimu. There was some black beech on the eastern side with lancewoods in various growth stages. We lunched in dappled sunshine with views over the surrounding countryside. After a good 2.5 hr walk we had returned to the van and set off to Mahia. We walked the old railway line between Waikokopu and Opoutama on the way. At Mahia we drove past the houses and parked the van in the small carpark at the start of the Mokotahi Hill track, we walked 30 minute trek to the top and got views over the Mahia isthmus. Our accommodation for the night was at the Mahia Beach Holiday Camp, dining at the Sunset Café. 

Sun: We were away at 9.00am and drove up the winding Kinikini Road to the start of the Mahia Peninsular Scenic Reserve, one of the few remaining lowland coastal forests. We initially climbed up to the lookout, with good views of the peninsula, then descended to the stream running through the basin- very slippery papa rocks which caught a few unawares. Another 2 1/2 hour walk.

After lunch on the beach we drove around the other side of the peninsula to the Whangawehi river mouth and the beginning of the Te Aratia Walkway – a lot of effort went into developing this. It was tarted in 2020 with 250,000 plantings of native shrubs, 150 ha riparian margins retired and 30ha in bush blocks protected. We wandered for 4-5km along the limestone track which followed the stream, about 1.5 km short of the shelter. (We were unable to start at the Kinikini Road entrance as this was closed due to poison being laid- a few are wanting to return to complete this walk)

Mon : All packed after a night at the Vista Motel in Wairoa and Susan had found the James Carroll Walkway 5 minutes away. James Carroll was a prominent Maori politician who was born in Wairoa and educated at Te Aute College, the first Maori to hold the position of Prime Minister (in a acting role from 1909 to 1911). All walked to Memorial Park, read the info boards and walked to where James was born alongside the Wairoa River on the North Clyde side – this site is marked by a very old cabbage tree

Into the van again, a short drive and all disembarked at Whakamahia Beach- vast quantities of logs littered the beach and most of the party spending time fossicking amongst the debris . Susan had wandered up to the station entrance at the far end of the beach and chatted to the fisherman who had caught two trevally. Another stop off at Pilot Hill (where in the past, pilots assisted coastal boats through the river entrance and up the Wairoa River to berth near the Ferry hotel), followed for a good viewing point to see the Wairoa River Mouth.

Continuing our way back towards Napier, we detoured, lunching at Mohaka Beach, before travelling along the old Coast Road and rejoining the State Highway at Kotemaori. Good weather, enjoyable company and a wide area of the Morere /Mahia districts,explored over the long weekend.

Party: Peter B; Lex S: Dave M Paula K; Glenda H, Susan L, Stephen B, Anne D & Simon W

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