The Chatham Islands are in the Pacific Ocean approximately 800 kilometres east of the South Island of New Zealand. The islands are hilly with coastal cliffs, beaches and lagoons. The local economy depends largely on conservation, tourism, farming and fishing. As of 2013 the islands have a resident population of only 600. A great place to visit because it is so remote and the landscape is so spectacular.
The Moriori are a Polynesian people who migrated to the Chatham Islands around 1500. Their culture included the art of tree carving, (momori rakau), where human figures were portrayed by incision onto the trunk of a live kopi (karaka) tree. It is believed that this was a means of commemorating and acknowledging ancestors and the spiritual world. We were fortunate to visit The JM Barker (Hapupu) Historic Reserve which still has a small number of surviving dendroglyphs that were clearly visible for us to see. Sadly, many carvings are being lost to tree growth and weathering over time.
Duder Regional Park is located on the pōhutukawa-fringed Whakakaiwhara Peninsula, which extends out into the Tamaki Strait. You may feel like you're on your own island as you enjoy the stunning 360 degree views of the surrounding hills and Hauraki Gulf islands. The easy track takes you out to a headland Māori pa site. Where you will see signs of early pre-European occupation such as kumara pits and shell middens. We love getting off the beaten track and visiting parts of Auckland that not many people see.
This oil painting is inspired by a walk we did recently past a thick grove of supplejack in the Hunua Ranges Regional Park, Auckland. The thick black scrambling impenetrable vines of Supplejack – Kareao – are a distinctive feature of the New Zealand rainforest. Learn more by following this link:
Explore this pristine native forest and check out the impressive Hunua Falls. The Hunua Falls Loop walk, is a gradual climb through beautiful lush forest to an excellent viewing platform. A great day trip destination.
For Māori, the rise of the Matariki or Pleiades constellation in the celestial skies above Aotearoa New Zealand signals a change in season - the arrival of the winter solstice and the countdown to spring and summer. Matariki was an important event on the lunar calendar that traditional Māori followed for planting, fishing and celebrations.
Matariki celebrations have evolved over time. Auckland local communities are now actively focusing on reviving old Māori customs and culture in a contemporary way.
This painting celebrates my love of fishing and sea food gathering. It is called Ko te ika o Matariki. The fish of Matariki.
The Exhibition and Beveridge Tracks take you from Exhibition Drive in Titirangi to the Arataki Visitor Centre, the gateway to the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park.
This track runs through beautiful native bush and is mostly a gentle gradient, with a few steep sections where cyclists may need to dismount. It’s a very safe walking and family cycling route.
You will see a rustic pipe adjacent to the track which was built in 1901 that carried water from Upper Nihotupu Dam to a pump station in Western Springs, Auckland.
There are expansive views of the Manukau Harbour and Lower Nihotupu Dam once you reach the top and some very interesting exhibitions and nature activities at the Arataki Visitor Centre.
Take a day trip from Auckland City out to Tunnel Point campground between Karekare and Whatipu.
This is a 20-30 minute trek through the Pohutakawa Glade at Karekare, heading south along the beach, then following the old benched railway line. You walk through the tunnel to reach a gorgeous secluded spot amongst dune wetlands and towering coastal cliffs. There is a composting toilet and plenty of flat area to pitch a tent or just have a picnic. This is a great day walk where you see Auckland’s West Coast at it’s very best.
Visit Auckland Council for further details regarding camping fees.