Pourerere Beach

04 Aug 2021

This was the first time that Wednesday Walkers had had to use the new club van on a scheduled outing so the organiser and team arrived early to prepare for the day. There were a few teething problems but they were eventually overcome and the group set off towards SH2 and beyond. Mostly the journey went well: the van is certainly smooth and efficient with passengers being mostly positive about its performance. . The van will never be as much fun as the truck to drive given its lack of distinct identity and familiar idiosyncracies but de gustibus non est disputandum as the ancients would tell us and the world is going to just move on.

Conditions were sunny with a cold southerly which moderated as the day went on. We trundled through Pourerere which is expanding into a township by the look of it with expensive new subdivisions popping up. There was no-one around and most of the houses looked empty, unsurprising given that it is not the holiday season. From the road we could see all the paddocks and camping areas where tractors are left to weather the winter, ready for the summer season when they are used as boat launchers.

We parked at the southern reserve with the excellent toilet block and headed out for our first foray further south to where the beach meets the farmland – the distance between the two is shrinking as rising seas swallow more and more coastal land. This is where the first sheep station in Hawke’s Bay was established in 1847 by James Northwood and Henry Tiffen. Apparently, the local drovers used to love working along this coast back then because of the enormous numbers of shellfish, especially pipi, that could easily be obtained. Of course, Pourerere is still known for its seafood but it is not as easy to catch these days and there are limits on what can be taken.

Over the fence and along to Tuingara Point where we spotted a young seal resting in the sun. We paused at the headland while Anne clambered closer to get some photos although the seal was unimpressed. The tide was not in our favour for further walking so we turned back and headed north along wide sandy stretches to the mouth of Pourerere Stream where it enters into the sea. Christine was the only one who was not too timid to cross the rising waters which she did quite easily [although at the cost of wet trousers from a frisky incoming wave] and went on a little further to investigate the area near the dunes that is fenced off to protect breeding birds. We kept an eye out for the Moeraki-style boulders that had been reported in the media recently and saw them, half-sunk in the sand not far away.

From there it was back to the van for lunch before driving through to Aramoana and Te Angiangi Marine Reserve. We walked south along the beach front past all its charming houses and caravans to the four-wheel drive road that leads to Blackhead. Normally this is a straightforward walk of a couple of hours and we noted again how the sea has already claimed parts of the road so one has to climb above the trail. At one point in the walk a couple of dead seals were encountered. We could see the buildings at Aramoana and some of us got close to them but tide and time were against us and we had to turn back to base and face the drive home.

Party: Garry S, Anthea C, Lynn W, Anne C, Christine H, Rodger B, Peter H, Alasdair S Joan R

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