Hawke’s Bay’s newest heritage trail, Awarua, (a trail between two rivers) follows the path of two of Hawke’s Bay’s main rivers, the Tuki Tuki and Ngaruroro. The trail, one of 12 in Hawke’s Bay, has been divided onto two sections because of the two rivers. KATE TAYLOR reports.
Heritage trails follows the Tuki Tuki . . . and Ngaruroro
The Tuki Tuki River and the communities that once lived around it are the focus of Hawke’s Bay’s new heritage trail.
It starts at Havelock North, follows Middle Road along the Tuki Tuki River, uses Te Aute Trust Road to cross to Highway Two, and passes Te Hauke and Paki Paki to return to Hastings.
Points of interest include Lucknow Lodge (the birthplace of what is now Nimons buses), Providencia Guest House, Webb’s Nursery, Drovers Memorial Hut, Blind Road (leading up the Kohinurakau Range to view Mt Kahuranaki), Paramahonge Gorge, the site of the Te Haui Pa, Camp David, Patangata and Te Ahu Pa, and Whatuiapiti Marae.
At this point in the trail, unusual macrocarpa solar houses can be seen, with turf growing on the roofs. Over the Pukeparera Saddles is a stand of native trees known as Te Karaka.
At Kauahei, 35km from the start of the trail, Pat Barker breeds coloured sheep. Further along there are views of Lake Poukawa – a former swamp farmed by generations of the Brownrigg family.
After turning onto Highway Two at the twin 90m broadcasting transmitters, the next stop is the Opapa Railway Station, being restored by volunteers.
Appointments can be made to view the Brownrigg’s Douglas Road garden, visit Te Hauke Marae or pass the Poukawa Research Station.
One of the few remaining wetlands in Hawke’s Bay is the Peka Peka Swamp – a refuge for aquatic plants and animals.
The area is soon to be opened to the public after the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society finish installing tracks and board walks.
By the site sign is a large tapu (sacred) rock where the bodies of Maori tribal elders were rested on their way to be interred.
The final stop of the Tukituki section is Paki Paki – an abbreviation of Te Pakipakiohinetemoa, the place where Hinetemoa, caught naked while bathing, snatched up her rapaki (skirt) and huddled it (pakipaki) around her shoulders.
The area supports three active marae, Haungarea, Mihiroa and Taraia II, as well as the original timber Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception and the privately-owned stone Church of Saint Luke.
Airports, woolsheds and wineries are among the attractions on the Ngaruroro section of the new Awarua heritage trail.
From Highway 2 out of Hastings, it passes Bridge Pa Aerodrome, home of the Hawke’s Bay East Coast Aero Club and New Zealand Aerial Mapping.
Wineries, art galleries, potteries and thoroughbred stud farms can be found in the Ngatarawa area, which also includes the small settlement of Bridge Pa and its two marae, Korongata and Mangaroa.
People can also see three Ngatarawa water races, constructed in 1898 to provide water for stock.
The trail passes an old drover’s memorial hut and then a 116-year-old woolshed on Highway 50 before the Maraekakaho village, which was the centre of the 20,243 ha Maraekakaho Station.
Turning right into Aorangi Road, the old coach route, trail explorers will find Kemblefield Estate Winery. It was from there that wool bales were taken north across the Ngaruroro River and Matapiro Station on wagons drawn by teams of bullocks.
Crossing the Mangatahi River, the trail climbs to Riverview Vineyard with a panoramic view over the Ngaruroro Valley.
On this part of the trail, drivers can visit the Aorangi Station site, the 1907 Olrig Station woolshed and Kereru Station – one of the largest surviving Hawke’s Bay sheep runs.
The trail then follows Big Hill Road across the scenic Poporangi Stream Gorge. There the trail borders the Ruahine Forest Park and the north-east Ruahine heritage trail, with Masters Shelter and the Sentry Box Scenic Reserve, before backtracking to Kereru.
The brochure for the Awarua trail describes the next section as “climbing to a mountain-view point, turning left onto Salisbury Road, following a scenic ridge with vistas of the encircling country”.
Salisbury Farm has Beachen’s old world rose garden and nursery, before the trail rejoins Highway 50 at the Stoney Creek Ranch.
Now turning up Valley Road, trail wanderers will see the Grand Canal, a 2.75km drain dug between 1859 and 1869, using horse-drawn scoops, as part of a Maraekakaho Station drainage scheme.
The trail continues through an important early Maori settlement area where, as the brochure describes, almost every hilltop has a fortified pa site.
The trail ends back at Bridge Pa after a scenic drive up to the crest of the Raukawa Range and back down Raukawa Road past Greenhill Homestead, which has been host to royalty in the past.
Photo captions –
BURMA ROAD, in the Ngaruroro section of the trail, climbs 4km into Orangihukia Valley to the crest of the Raukawa Range where a panoramic view unfolds of the Lake Poukawa basin, surrounding hills and Te Wheao Pa site on a lower spur.
BUILT IN 1903 of native timber, the Providencia Guest House was moved to Middle Road from Hastings in 1994 and restored. HB TODAY PICTURES: TIM WHITTAKER
TE HAUKE MARAE on the second half of the Tukituki section of the trail. Local people rebuilt the carved wharepuni (meeting house) in 1913 after the original was burnt down in 1893. The carving was done by Arawa artisans from Rotorua under the direction of Heke Kapua.
LUCKNOW LODGE, built in 1895, started as a livery stable and depot for horse-drawn buses until John G Nimon bought the business in 1900. By 1912, Nimons was running Studebaker buses between Hastings and Havelock North, later expanding coach services throughout Hawke’s Bay and New Zealand.
MANY MOTORISTS would have seen this old woolshed on Highway 50 before the Maraekakaho monument. Hawke’s Bay’s largest woolshed, it was built by Douglas McLean in 1883 for 5000 sheep with 14 stands at each end. Until 1904 when power shears were introduced, up to 80 men would shear 110,000 sheep annually to press into 1700 wool bales to be transported by bullock dray to Clive for shipping.