13-Jan-2001 -- I was holidaying with my family at Ohope Beach, which is just
near Whakatane. I had noticed that S38 E177 was very close to where we
were staying. It took me until the day before we were going home to
reveal my plan to the family to visit this confluence.
My son James and his friend Sam were keen to come along as well as my
Aunt Honor, who had just celebrated her 80th birthday. I was a little
concerned about Honor coming as I suspected there might be a bit of bush
bashing. However she is a very fit 80-year-old and had completed a
three-hour walk with us a couple of days earlier.
We drove to within 900m of the confluence and left our car with a
local farmer. I told him what we were doing and asked if it was OK to go
there. He didn't actually own the land but said the owner wouldn't mind.
We crossed the fence at a neighboring quarry, with a rather threatening
sign about the area being dangerous. However we made for the bush and
began climbing steeply through fairly open Manuka bush.
We reached the top of a ridge about 400m from the confluence. Luckily
the ridge was going in the right direction so we followed that towards
the confluence. The ridge took a broad loop to the left before coming
out on the top of a little hill. Around us were the quite distinctive
signs that this had once been a "Pa" site, a fortified Maori village
from pre European times. There are quite a few of these on the tops of
hills in this area and can be identified by walls and trenches dug as
The confluence was only 20m to the left, so James and I scrambled
down the bank until the GPS zero'd in on the site. This was my second
confluence visit and once again the site was disappointing for its
complete lack of a view. I took a couple of shots of the Pa site, the
GPS, the people I was with and a view that I snatched through the trees,
a hundred metres or so away where we could see part of Whakatane.
The return journey was interesting in that we headed straight back
down the hill with little regard to the route that we took up. As we got
near the bottom, it got steeper. The boys slid down the last steep bit
on their backsides, soon followed by 80 year old Honor, a little more
We came out of the scrub, hot sweaty and dusty but were soon back at
the beach for a swim in the surf.