Thursday, May 21, 2009

Maori in the Far North

Matai Bay, Karikari Peninsula, Northland. April 2009. Ajr
When I visited the Karikari Peninsula in the Far North over 30 years ago, there was nothing there but beautiful, empty beaches. I don’t think we saw another single person in all the time we were there. I returned to the Peninsula during my recent scamper around the North Island for Frommers and I was dismayed to discover that everyone else has now discovered it too. It had to happen I suppose but how discouraging to see that there are holiday homes everywhere and huge housing estates (with street lamps!) under construction! I stayed at Carrington, which is part of a 3,000 acre estate owned by an American. It would be fair to say that some of the better tourism developments – the new roads for instance – are largely attributed to him and his development of Carrington, its international golf course and Karikari Estate Winery. And to be fair, he has consulted with nearby Maori landowners. Just one example is the fact that every one of the eighteen holes on the golf course features a traditional carving created by local master carver, Hector Busby. (I’ll be bringing some of those to you soon).
But the point of all this waffling - while I was on the peninsular, I headed out to the end of the public road – to Matai Bay, which is a beautiful double-sided bay featuring two beautiful horseshoe beaches. Thankfully, there, nothing has been developed because this is Maori land and but for a tiny cluster of Maori-owned houses on the green hillocks above the bay (some flying Maori flags), there isn’t a dwelling in sight. Long may it stay that way! You can’t get right out to the very end of the peninsular – not without permission of the Maori landowners at least – and you get the feeling that isn’t obviously forthcoming. I guess you just have to know the right people to ask, not to mention having a very good reason for wanting to go there. As to the iwi owning the land? I’m not entirely sure but I’m guessing it might be one of the Ngati Kahu hapu. If anyone knows for sure, please feel free to leave a comment.

1 comment:

  1. You are right on how you feel about our whenua.And yes I would like to think our Iwi and Hapu are responsible they are known as our Kaitiaki,whom do no negotiating hehe.


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