In 1963, a major engineering feat was completed on the Wairau River, in the Marlborough district: the Wairau diversion. The diversion created two Wairau Rivers, one following its original course, which meanders south-east into a network of lagoons, before reaching Cloudy Bay at Wairau Bar. The “new Wairau River” was a channel that connected the river through a cut eastwards to the sea. Continue reading
Yesterday, we ventured out on a photography expedition for my near-complete book exploring the environmental history of the Manawatu. (See: A racy title is one thing, but what’s the book actually about?) Many adventures awaited us, including an amorous kunekune pig and his similarly friendly ostrich companion, residents of a historic farm at Karere.
At Ashhurst, I was unable to resist this landscape – a poignant juxtaposition between old and new. Continue reading
When I lived in Japan, I took great pleasure from visiting Shinto shrines. Though I am not a religious person, there was something very spiritual and calming about these places. They were a place of solace and quietude. Shrines were sometimes only very small and simple affairs – often hidden in an unexpected corner of a bustling urban landscape. Continue reading
Anyone with even a passing interest in Maori history will have recognised the ability of Maori to select sites in the landscape that afforded them both a defensive and strategic advantage over any advancing enemy tribes. Often sites were at the top of cliffs, with sweeping views over plains and down river valleys, frequently bordered on at least one side by a river, which acted as a natural moat. Within the Manawatu, for example, the Rangitane pa sites Otangaki (Ashhurst) and Te Motu o Poutoa (Anzac Park) were examples of sites that took advantage of such geographical features. Continue reading
Driving back from the Manawatu today, we were lucky enough to encounter our second rainbow of the day. This one was particularly spectacular, set against the dusky blue-grey of the Tararua Ranges, and the dark rain cloud-filled sky. This one “ended” among a cluster of regenerating indigenous trees (possibly totara) on fields on the Manawatu River terraces just south of the Linton Army Camp turn-off [click here to view location]. Continue reading