The World Around Us

Cape Reinga

Country: New Zealand by Lisette

08-02-2005

80-Cape-ReingaWCape Reinga is the most northern top of New Zealand, so a real must-see and must-do. It is a bit over-hyped but it was a nice day out all in all. At the top we looked out at the Tasman Sea that separates the Keewees from the Ozzies. Instead of another boring bus ride back, we took 90 Mile Beach, the highway on .. that’s right, the beach!

With a bunch of sand dunes it should come as no surprise that most travelers wish to go sand boarding. I also thought I should give it a try, until I was at the top of a steep dune and heard a girl scream from the top of her lungs as she raced down on her belly. Nope, there will be no persuading Lisette to go sand boarding and I sneaked down while young students looked at me with an astounded look on their faces as they eagerly waited.

Back in Paihia I walked for about 5 hours along the coast, it was great! Tired I planned to go to bed early, until it was decided that my last night here should be celebrated. Together with Gwen and Liz we talked over the last few days and drank a couple of nice ones. Liz is getting a tattoo tomorrow and is mentally preparing for the pain, while we encourage her not to give up.

81-RussellWBefore hopping on the bus to Auckland I went to historic Russell with Flagstaff Hill. Hmm, there wasn’t much going on and the walk to the Hill was okay but nothing special.

The only noteworthy thing was that Hone Heke took down the English flag four times between 1840-1844, after the Treaty of Waitangi was signed. Among other objections, Heke disagreed with custom tariff that was imposed on trade articles and the relocation of the capital to Auckland. Both moves resulted in a dramatic fall in the number of whaling ships visiting Kororareka.

When the flagpole was cut down for the fourth time, a force of about 600 armed Māori attacked Kororareka. In answer, soldiers and settlers bombarded Heke’s men with cannon from the HMS Hazard. Yet, Heke ordered the southern part of town should be untouched and the churches are undamaged till today.

Tāmati Wāka Nene, a great northern chief was offended by the attack and like Hone Heke built a pā, a defensive settlement. Their warriors (drawing support from several chiefs) fought numerous skirmishes and even though Heke’s troops outnumbered Nene’s, the latter won after a large traditional battle. Nene gained a lot of influence as a direct result of the war.