Date: March 13th
Swell: 1 m or less E
Wind: Light Variable
Distance: 27 nm
Camp: H’s Place; Maraeanui
Back Country Cuisine Food Review
Meal: Chicken Tika Misala
Impression: 2nd time we have had dish, this time made extra rice and feed three, I liked it more this time round, very yummy flavor, not as rich and creamy as it is when from the local Indian restaurant, but very good.
Stars: 9 out of 10
Awoke, still alive and no tsunami, to a real cracker morning. The tide was out and the wet sand created a mirror reflection on it, while the low rising sun created intense colours and a surreal aerie feel to the beach. We carried the boats down from the dunes, loaded amongst the wet sand, then launched out through the small surf. I unfortunately, once again, left my sunglasses on the beach and had to go back in to get them, got to leave them in the kayak at night!
The day was an easy paddle, hooked up on a couple of kawhai, one got off, the other I realized as it was small, though we never got another. Paddled till about 5pm then pulled in at a river mouth to find a camp. Found the stony beach was a bit sketchy and looked as if it flooded at high tide, Dave went and spoke to a local on an ATV and that’s how we meet “H” a good old New Zealand Maori character.
H or Willy, lives here in Maraeanui just next to his mum’s place in a house he made from the bits he found on the beach, a very cool place and only cost him about $2000 and lots of hard work. H told us we couldn’t camp on the beach here as people will tell us to leave, though invited us to stay with him, so he invited us to load up the ATV with our gear and he would take it up to the shack we could stay in. You should have seen his toothless face, as we pulled out bags and bags of gear from the kayaks, he couldn’t believe it all came from in the kayaks. The poor ATV slumped under the weight and H drove it up to the house.
We secured the Kayaks on some logs high up on the beach and left them there the night, assured they would be fine. And off we trotted to the house, now this is an area where you tend to go back in time to the way NZ used to be, thus we walked; into a dirt drive way that lead through yard full of tall un-mown grass, past a huge pink pig in a ramshackle sty, by pig hunting dogs that wagged their tails in excitement and to the door of a well made, modest shack. In the shack were a couple of sofas, a gas cooker, to rooms, one with a bed, and our gear waiting for us at the door. Next minute H was down and invited us up to his house up back of the shack, there we meet his wife Mere, and we had a hot drink and started chatting about life and the construction of this amazing house.
The house reminded me of a wizards house, all created out of old power poles recovered from an old road, logs and stones from the beach, and full of amazing trinkets and books on all subjects. It was a modest dwelling which ran on no power, and all they had was offered to us. That night we cooked by candle light on a gase stove, and meet H’s daughter. H regularly picked up travelers and let them stay, though we where the first he had got from the sea, “Man” he said “ that other fulla (person) fishing, thought he was doing good with all the kawhai he was catching, and then he saw what I pulled in! two 18ft brightly colored kayaking Pakeha’s!” he said with the catchy colloquialisms of the east coast Maori people and then laughed his toothless head off. (For those of you from overseas, Maori’s ar the native people of NZ, and Pakeha’s are the white people in there language).
Everyone thought we were nuts, though also as always where totally intrigued by it. We cooked up a Chicken tika masala meal and combined it with some beef patties and potatoes H had cooked up. His daughter didn’t know what chicken tika masala was, so she had to give it a try and she liked it. We talked the night away on all sorts of subjects, though got caught on one in particular, which was the Maori land claims and claims to the sea bed. This is a very touchy subject in NZ, though it was interesting to hear the other side. H and Mere are quite involved in the legal happenings, personally knowing the Iwi’s (tribes) lawyer. The local Iwi on the east coast is the predominant driving force behind the claims, as the own 87% of there traditional land and thus have a lot of power.
To make a Long complicated story short, most Pakeha up north think the moaris are just claiming land and the sea bed to make money, though what we are told is they are doing it, in particular to the sea bed and foreshore, to stop the government leasing of the right to search for oil and minerals and thus allow drilling and mining, which will destroy fish breeding grounds.
The conversation was riveting and mixed in with some humor of cannibalism, eating Pakehas who paddle up to river mouths in kayaks, the need to instigate traditional hunting laws, like the Norwegians do with whaling though on hunting humans, and though H and Mere are people of simple means, they are well educated an up to date with the legal goings on of their people and our country.
After a bowl of stewed pears from there garden and not wanting to keep them up to much longer, we said good night at 12am and walked down to our shack for a great sleep.