Wednesday, November 11, 2009

By The Beach

Hawai is a tiny community on State Highway 35 that travels around the North Island’s East Cape. It’s little more than a cluster of houses and a very cute marae that is tucked away from easy traffic view by a hedge and a thicket of cabbage trees. It goes without saying that I stopped here during my Frommers’ trip around the Cape in May. I was going to get out in the hope of finding someone to talk to about the community but as soon as I stopped my car outside the marae gates, a large barking dog came bounding towards me. I leapt straight back into my car. I had already been cornered by wild dogs in three separate ‘remote’ communities in the Far North and I wasn’t about to tempt fate a fourth time.

Instead, I wound down the car window and took these quick shots of the marae – or what I could see of it. It’s the Tunapahore Marae, home base of the Te Whanau-a-Apanui hapu (sub-tribe), Te Whanau-a-Haraawaka and the main wharenui is named Haraawaka. Leaving the snarling dog behind, I drove further down the road and parked opposite the camping ground on a rise overlooking the beach. Waves were crashing ashore, licking at the piles of driftwood. Like almost every East Cape beach I passed on my travels, it was completely empty of people and if it hadn’t been for that dog, I would have wandered along the sands. But it was a case of onward-ever-onward and I left, feeling a little bereft at my coming away with just a few hurriedly scribbled notes. Another time perhaps…..

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