Welcome to this series Tikitiki journeys around the East Cape. This is a work of fiction focused on a clever, resourceful cat. Enjoy his adventures and intrepid travels around a beautiful part of New Zealand.
Hullo. The intrepid journeys of Tick, the cat, and Nick, the computer tutor, continue. Today we take in more of wonderful Tokomaru Bay, and visit Toko, the bottlenose dolphin, again
Tokomaru Bay is a small beachside community located on the isolated East Coast of New Zealand’s North Island. It is 91 km north of Gisborne, on State Highway 35. The district was originally known as Toka-a-Namu, which refers to the abundance of sandflies. Over the years the name was altered to Tokomaru Bay.
The two hapu or sub-tribes that reside in Tokomaru Bay are Te Whanau a Ruataupare and Te Whanau a Te Ao Tawarirangi. The ancestral mountain of Tokomaru Bay is Marotiri. The ancestral river is Mangahauini.
The seven-kilometer wide bay is small but sheltered, and was a calling place for passenger ships until the early 20th century. Captain Cook spent time here on his 1769 journey of discovery, and later European settlement included a whaling station. A visit by Missionaries Williams, Colenso, Matthews and Stack heralded the coming of Christianity to the district in 1838 and their crusade proved very successful with the local people.
The area around the bay has long been a Maori stronghold. The nearby pa at Te Mawhai was refortified during the battles between colonials and Maori in the 1860s.
The town’s modern prosperity derives mainly from agriculture and forestry, with some tourism. Its population is predominantly Maori, with the area being a stronghold of the Ngati Porou iwi. Population is approximately 450.
Sometimes Southern Right Whales come into bay to calve or rest. Sometimes Orcas come in, hunting for sting rays.
Nick headed north, and stopped at the Te Puka Tavern. “This will do nicely, Tiki” he said, and he promptly ordered Fish, Chips and Salad plus a handle of beer for himself. He also organized some fish for me, and we both went out to the front verandah overlooking the magnificent bay. A lovely lunch and Nick said the price was good too.
After lunch, we headed further north. Nick pointed out the old freezing works, and the old Waima wharf. Nick told me that the Freezing works, now in ruins, was closed in the 1950s. Prior to World War two, thousands of sheep were driven to these works.
Nick said that something like 400 ships would arrive at this wharf each year to pick up the sheep carcasses. Gee that wharf looked in rough shape.
We had a good look and a good think. Then Nick said, “Come on Tikitiki. It’s time for our next port of call.”
We headed south. When we were about half way to Tolaga Bay, there was a road on the left indicating Anaura Bay. “Oh, I thought. Toko mentioned this place”
When we came to the top of the hill we saw before us a truly stunning bay. Gee it looked nice.
Anaura Bay is singled out as the most stunning of the East Coast beaches with pristine golden sandy beaches and a backdrop of extensive native bush. The area is steeped in history – descendants of the famous maori chief Hauiti lived in the area in the 17th Century. The rare painted meeting house on the Anaura Marae is named Hinetamatea after one of Hauiti’s family.
A plaque marks the second New Zealand landfall of Captain Cook –when the Endeavour berthed in Anaura Bay the local Maori welcomed Cook and his men warmly. Cook recorded between two and three thousand people living in the district
Well, I looked very hard, but there is nothing like two to three thousand people here now.
When we came to the bottom of the road, Nick turned left and headed north. The north looked rocky – the south looked exquisite. “I hope he knows what he is doing?” He did.
We headed north along a very rough road. At the end of the road, Nick parked the car, and we walked a bit. Nick then let out a whistle – and who do you think appeared?
Nick showed more dignity this time. He just stripped down to his underpants, and then swam out to Toko. Toko and Nick frolicked together like old friends. The next thing I know, Nick was calling me to the edge of the rock where it meets the sea.
Nick came to me, gave me a quick stoke, and the hoisted me onto his reasonably large shoulders. He treaded water, while I prayed I wasn’t going to be dunked in. He then worked himself, while carrying me, across to Toko.
What a lovely creature Toko is! We kissed each other, and talked. He seemed to understand cat language, and I could read his thoughts. We are friends!
After a number of minutes of friendship, Nick took me back to the rock. He then went back out to Toko again. Yes, those two are friends too!
Nick swam back to the rock, and said, “Well Tikitiki. That was good. Shall we find somewhere to sleep tonight?”
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Nick Thorne is the founder of NicksDigitalSolutions Limited, a company specializing in Education, Training and Writing. He lives in Levin, New Zealand.