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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 75



Our next trip is to Waikare-iti Lake, which lies east of the Aniwaniwa Stream, and is about 500ft. higher than Waikare-moana. So one fine morning found us again setting forth and pulling down, the coast-line to the Whanganui-o-parua Inlet. Past the lone Wha-kangaere Rock, another famous ahi-titi of former days, and Kakata, so named from a sister of the famous chief Te Purewa, though it was no laughing matter for poor Kakata (laughter), for she was drowned here, together with six others, by the upsetting of a canoe. Then to the Hinaki-o-Tutaua, which exists in the form of a rock, but as to what use that cheerful tipua could make of a hinaki (eel-basket) is unknown; still it serves a useful purpose, for if a north-west wind is blowing, and one does but stroke the rock with the hand, the wind page 60 will at once change to the south, which same is useful [unclear: information], during a south wind this side of the lake is sheltered. And Te [unclear: He]-o-Hine-pehinga, where doubtless that maiden of yore was wont [unclear: t] prepare her simple toilet, inasmuch as this was a famous place [unclear: f] the heruheru fern, of which combs were made. Along the shore [unclear: a] many signs of ancient occupation, but now ko te moana [unclear: anake] tere ana (there remains nothing but the drifting waters). We [unclear: no] pass cliffs of blue papa, and the effect of the green shrubs and [unclear: bl] cliffs is quite striking; and the two rocks known as Tuara and [unclear: Ra] tapunui, which stand out in the lake, and many delightful coves [unclear: an] little beaches which make one yearn to camp down for a while. [unclear: A] Kirikiri was a famous moari, or swing, in former times, where [unclear: th] young people amused themselves by swinging out and dropping [unclear: int] the deep waters.

We camp at Te Papaki for the night, this place being at [unclear: th] head of the inlet, and, besides being a good camping-ground, is [unclear: wel] situated for the advance on Waikare-iti. A boat can pass up the Aniwaniwa Creek here to the first fall, but the big falls of [unclear: Pap] korito are some distance further up.

The next morning sees us ferried across the head of the inlet [unclear: and] landed on the right bank of the creek, from which spot a two-hours walk up the range brings us to Waikare-iti. On reaching the top of the hill, we descend a small spur for a short distance, and see through the trees before us the calm, silent waters of Waikare-iti This beautiful lake is surrounded by low hills covered with dense forest, which extends to the water's edge, the branches trailing it the water in many places. There are none of the great cliffs and ranges of the larger lake here; the scenery is not grand, as is that of Waikare-moana, but it is nevertheless very beautiful, there being many little islands in the lake, all densely clothed with bush. Ore longs for a canoe at canoeless Waikare-iti to go out and explore those lonely islets, and paddle across the shining waters. We are fortunate in happening upon the one spot on this side, apparently from which a good view of the lake can be obtained. A great rock juts out some distance into the lake, and on this rock we seat ourselves, disturbing thereby two whio (mountain dock) which were taking a siesta below. The lake is probably a mile and a half across, but the view of the further shore is almost concealed by the islands, of which there are six—Motu-torotoro Motu-ngarara, Te Kaha-a-tuwai, Te One-o-tahu, Te Rahui, and another, of which our guide did not know the name. Truly a lovely scene this on such a day, the calm, clear waters glittering is the rays of the sun, the lone, silent waters, surrounded by dense forest, and, in the far distance, the snow-capped peak of Manuaha There are no signs of ancient cultivation here, as on the shores of the "Star Lake," but this place was occupied by the Ngati-Ruapani Tribe as a place of refuge. When harassed by enemies in their kaingas at Waikare-moana they would retreat here and occupy the numerous islands in the lake, drawing their supplies probably from

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Awa-awa-roa (Rosie Bay), Waikaremoana.

Awa-awa-roa (Rosie Bay), Waikaremoana.

page 61

the surrounding forest, for the diminutive maehe is the only fish found in these waters, though wild-fowl were formerly numerous, Including the whio, maka, weweia, and kaha, the latter a large bird which nested in the branches trailing into the water on the shoreline The timbers seen here include the tawari, toatoa, tawai, horoeka, tawhero, parapara or houhou, neinei, miro, papauma, horopito kaponga, and the punui fern, with many others of that beautiful tribe. The outlet from Waikare-iti is by a swift stream, which flows with a heavy fall towards Aniwaniwa Creek.

A weird and silent place is Waikare-iti, with its unexplored isles land great forest; a most beautiful and unknown spot, but bearing no sign of the presence of man. Verily the Bohemian spirit longs to go and explore those silent islands and search for traces of ancient occupation thereon, from the days when the "children" of Ruapani and the ancient Tauira held these lone lands. But we lack the time to go a canoe-building, so we turn and retrace our way to the camp at Aniwaniwa—at least some of us do; but our worthy guide stoutly maintains that we are on the wrong trail, and, as we refuse to believe him, he set off on his own sweet way, with the result that he got lost and wandered around the spurs of the range while we are in camp discussing sundry viands furnished by the great harbour of Parua—to wit, puwha (edible thistles) and kakahi (shell-fish). And in returning we get a fine view of the lower falls of Aniwaniwa through the overhanging forest trees, which same is a truely fine sight, for the mass of foaming waters falls in two great leaps some 60ft. to the stream below. As we are striking camp, we hear a hail from across the inlet, and there behold our lost guide standing on a long sandspit running out into the lake. And as we pull out into the lake he wades out into the water to be picked up, looking very forlorn and comical. So we lay in and take him on board amidst many jeers and jibes from the "children," which somewhat annoy the old fellow, inasmuch as he remarks that he never knew so many fools to be contained in one boat—which same is distressing to a fine mind. Be not cast down, O faithful Waiwai! for truly art thou a goodly comrade and a cheerful, when camped in the lone places of the earth. And thou art the man who kept a given word and turned to help the strangers from across the snowy mountains when the whole of Ruapani had said, Waikare-iti should not be : trodden by the Pakeha. Kia ora koe (May you live)!

Then we proceed along the western side of the inlet, so as to complete our traverse of the shore-line of Waikare-moana. Past Te Ana-o-Tuaraia, so called from an ancestor of Nga-Potiki; and, lest you be surprised at the number of dead trees in the forest on the range above, it is as well to know that they were destroyed by witchcraft, by the Kahu-ngunu people of Te Wairoa, a tribe ever famous for their powers in makutu, hence the expression "Wairoa tapoko rau."* And at Whaitiri yonder is a tipua, in the form of a page 62 log, which lies beneath the clear waters, and should that demos [unclear: b] interfered with, then assuredly the whole lake rises in wrath. [unclear: A] Te Wai-a-te-puranga is a strong spring of intensely cold [unclear: water] gushing up from the lake-bed, such as are seen at Te Ana-[unclear: putap]—hence the name of this spot. So on past Taumatua, where [unclear: o] Native allies fought the Hauhaus during the last war, and Te-Mara-o-te-atua—where we wonder what the gods could possibly [unclear: haw] cultivated at such a rocky spot—and the long headland of Matuahu where the chain is complete, and we drift back across the shining waters to One-poto.

It is the summit of massive Huia-rau again, with the sun sinking in the golden west and the gloom of night settling on the far ocean for Waikare-moana is far below us now, as we stand on the show-wrapped peak of the great ikawhenua (mountain backbone). We have toiled up the rugged creek-beds of Te Onepu and Wai-horoi-hika, every rock and stone therein covered thick with slippery ice. Long icicles hang from the cliffs on each side like clear stalactites the great boulders and smooth bluffs are as glass, even the running water is frozen over in many places. So we go forward, barefooted and be-swagged, through ice-cold waters, and toiling carefully up the ice-covered rocks. So slow, indeed, is our progress that the night is falling when we reach the summit, which means that we have been five hours in ascending 2,000ft. Here, then, we proceed to camp, and thus spend our last night in the wilderness. And, while the "children" go on to pitch the tents at Te Pakura, we tarry a while on the summit to take our last look at the "Star Lake" lying far below, and watch the wondrous glories of the setting sun across the western ranges. For surely it is a noble sight. Towards the west lies a great far-reaching chaos of rugged ranges, valleys, and peaks Here are many noted mountains of Tuhoe land; here is Maro, and Whawharua, and Tara-pounamu, and Te Ranga-a-Ruanuku, and Manawa-ru, and Manu-ruhi, and Nga-heni, and Tawhiu-au, and Te Ihu-o-Awatope, and Panui-o-Rehua, and Tane-atua, and Te Niho-o-Kataka; and far, far away is the great Pae-roa, and still further the giants which look down on Taupo-nui-a-Tia. A glorious light it on the distant mountains, a golden haze fills the valleys and lingers on the plain-lands, the ranges darken to south and north.

The "children" have broken a trail through the snow, and their camp-fire gleams brightly on the spur below, the sun disappears into that golden fairy-land of the west, as the Kaumatua and the Pakeha take their last look at Waikare-whanaunga-kore, and, turning to the gleaming kura (red light), go downward through the snows of Huia-rau, en route for the Great Canon of Toi.

* Wairoa, where hundreds sink.