Tuesday, April 6, 2010
More from Omaio, East Cape
The small community of Omaio, near the mouth of the Motu River, 56km from Opotiki on East Cape, is home to all things Te Whanau a Apanui.
If you swing sharp right of the main highway near the store here, as I did last year, you'll be on the Old Coast Road heading for Hoani Waititi Reserve. But just after the turnoff, you'll find the stunning Omaio marae, which I've written about here before. (Click on Omaio in label line below to read previous post).
Back on the main coast road, just a short distance further on, you'll also find this beautiful marae (above), which I have been unable to identify. I was particularly taken with its huge and elaborately carved waharoa (gateway), which featured motifs (like the sun), that I hadn't previously seen on Maori carvings.
Every time I look back on the hundreds of photographs I took during my two-day jaunt around East Cape, I think again how much I would like to re-do the journey over a week. There's nothing I'd like better than to linger longer in these small seaside communities, meeting the locals, learning about the history and day-to-day life and veering off down the side roads that lead to who knows where and what. That's the beauty of a slow journey for me.
And this old abandoned church in an Omaio field, is just one building I would like to know more about - and given time and permission, perhaps a look inside. It undoubtedly 'harbours' all sorts of interesting tales - moments in time on the verge of being forgotten unless they are recorded. But it's the same old story - so much to do, so little time!