Friday, June 19, 2009

Hokianga History

Pakanae, Northland. May 2009. Ajr
Marae-roa Pakanae sits on a small hill beside the main road that leads in to the tiny Far North town of Opononi, in the Hokianga Harbour. Opononi of course, was made famous by Opo the Dolphin, who ‘befriended’ people in the seaside community in the 1950s. The little Maori settlement of Pakanae, just a couple of kilometres from Opononi, has a much deeper history. It’s one of the oldest Maori settlements in New Zealand and is said to be the place Kupe settled in before making his return trip to Hawaiki to encourage his people to migrate to Aotearoa. I stopped on the roadside and took some photographs of the marae, looking back up into the wonderful cloud formations that had gathered behind the hilltop buildings

Pakanae, Northland. May 2009. Ajr
And with a zoom lens, I was able to get a (slightly fuzzy) photograph of Kupe’s Memorial Stone, which sits within a small fenced area on the grassy expanse in front of the marae itself. Not so far away is the conical hill, Whiria, which is said to have been a powerful pa (fortified village) many centuries ago.
Pakanae, Northland. May 2009. Ajr
There was a gathering in progress at Pakanae when I pulled up on the roadside – I could just see people moving about in the distance and there were cars parked all the way across to the rather beautiful red-roofed church that stands nearby on the same rise – St Luke’s Anglican, according to the sign….one of the many gorgeous little red-roofed churches that dot the Far North landscape. Pakanae now has a gleaming new look after an extensive marae re-building project that culminated in a happy re-opening in December 2007. You can see before and after photographs of the marae project on their website –

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