Bleary-eyed, I poked my head around the curtains. Upon seeing the light and early morning colours I went scrambling for my camera. It wasn’t exactly ‘sunrise’; the big golden ball was seemingly as enthusiastic to get out of bed as I was.
One very unspectacular self-catered breakfast later, I checked out and got underway.
‘Underway’ is sort of an overstatement: I drove about 200m away to St Paul’s Church up on the hill above where I stayed.
Headstone for a young local man killed on the Somme
A tree near the church got my attention, and the sight of a strange woman craning weirdly upward at a dead tree got the attention of the neighbour towing out his boat
There’s a family connection with Cape Runaway so when it came into view I stopped. The chewing cows were less impressed.
Once upon a time this was a motor camp. Now it’s for sale as a lifestyle block.
The Church of St Peter at Raukokore came to being in the early 1930s after a local man gifted the site to the Catholic Church. Services were held up to the late 1970s after which it lay empty… though there was the time a police raid found 65kg of marijuana spread across the floor! In 2002 the property was returned to the man’s family. A large whale jawbone arch that stood outside the church can be found in the Whakatane Museum.
Initially I walked around the exterior and peered through the windows. The noise this created against the glass freaked out a bird that had been trapped inside and the poor bird resumed attempts to get out – by flying into one of the windows, enough times to eventually kill itself. It was a bit distressing to see and hear – especially when I got back to the door and saw that I could in fact open it. Just a couple of minutes too late 😦
Across the road is the very beautiful Anglican church.
It was built at the end of the 19th century and thanks to a restoration in recent years, is still in use (as evidenced by the dried rose petals on the ground).
I continued my journey south but had to stop before the church disappeared out of sight. It’s such a distinctive landmark!
Cape Runaway was getting closer but wouldn’t stay in full view for much longer. My grandfather worked on Cape Runaway Station.
I drove down to Waihau Bay, made somewhat famous by the movie ‘Boy’.
From this point the family heritage trail began to crank into gear.
Potikirua Station, where my grandfather first worked after emigrating to NZ and going to farming and agricultural school. From here he moved on to Cape Runaway Station.
Not sure if these yards date back to my grandfather’s era, but their construction from wood and railway iron is unusual. The rugged land here would have made for a tough introduction to working life.
From here Gisborne is about 200km away. Also roughly here is the Ngāti Porou tribal boundary, which my father, brother and I are affiliated to.
A few minutes later, and on time I might add, I met up with my parents and cousins at the intersection of the highway and the road down which my father lived after he was born. It was time for an excursion on gravel.