The Rongolian Star: Issue: 7, May 2011

Nelson Creek or the Bush

 (Absolutely Amazingly Tight Knit West Coast Community Part 2)
(As recounted by Master Yarner Dan Vos)

Punters at the Nelson Creek Pub


Act 2 Scene 1. Ngakawau Tavern Public Bar Saturday April 15th 2011

The appearance of small menacing fluffy white cloud drives all and sundry indoors!

Barman (Roger):  G’day mate what’il it be?

Jerry:    Yeah mate, a jug of Monteiths!

Roger:  ( Ngakawau Mayor and pub darts champ)   Crisps?

Jerry:     Yeah a bit fresh outside Mate!

Roger:  (2010 Ngakawau Texas Holdem Champ and winner of Mondays lunchtime bingo)  That’s $8 digger!

Jerry:    S.. l.. u..r..p… A..a  a..g ..h  ! B..u..r..p..!

Roger:  (1968 Lightning Ridge Primary School July spelling bee runner up)    F .. a.. r.. t…!

Laurie:   Good one Mate!

Jerry:   Cheers!!

Laurie:  Wotcha Cobba where are you from?

Jerry:   Yeah I’m Jerry from Nelson Creek Cobba and you?

Laurie:  Yeah I’m Laurie and I’m from Ngakawau but I was originally from Nelson Creek!!

Jerry:    Yeah well I knew a chap called Laurie who lived in Nelson Creek!

Laurie:   I lived in the old drover’s cottage with my parents and my brother Jerry.

Jerry:     Man what a coincidence I lived in that same cottage with my Mum and Dad and my brother??  Yeah he was called Laurie!!!  Strewth!!

Laurie:  Hey wouldn’t it be amazing if we were long lost brothers!!

Jerry:    Yeah mate! This is really exciting. I haven’t seen my brother Laurie since he left home 46 years ago when we were young  lads at school to get a job as an apprentice carpenter in Ngakawau.

Laurie:   I’m a carpenter!!

Jerry:   Bejabbers could it be?? Mum would have been so happy to know I found…..say what do you reckon Roger??

Roger:   Nah!!

Laurie:  Cheers Roger!  Worth a crack Nigel!

Jerry:    Wotcha Roger!! Still an amazing coincidence!! Yeah Roger’s right.  My brother Laurie was only about 5 foot tall and he was missing both of his front teeth.

Laurie:   I.. I…

Jerry:   And he didn’t wear glasses.

Laurie:   I.. I..

Jerry:    Yeah and he wasn’t bald and he didn’t have a beard!

Laurie:  I .. I ..

Jerry:  Yeah and he wore size 7 gumboots!!

Lauire: Bugger!!

Token Busty Blonde : Hi there big boy!

Jerry:  Fancy a shag love?

Token Busty Blonde with deep mouth watering cleavage: Got a Holden ute?

Roger:  (1965 2nd and only other pupil ever enrolled at Lightning Ridge Primary School which mysteriously burned down after Roger was placed third in the junior school drinking horn for the second year running!!)  : Tell you what though! I lost my pet black Labrador when I was little kid and I’m still looking for him, he’s called Rhinocerossimus!

Jerry:   I saw a black lab in the Speight’s ad on TV last night!!

Laurie : Yeah the one where Barry Crump is rolling a smoke on the edge of a cliff and puts one behind each ear of his dog!

Roger:  (1967 Lightning Ridge Primary School Rugby Team Reserve Orange Boy): Nah!! Rhinocerossimus lost his left ear while we were hunting pigs!

Jerry:   Mate!! I saw a black lab with only one ear the other day in Granity walking down the main street!!!

Roger:  (1968 Lightning Ridge Primary School playground rubbish picker upper champ):   Nah!!   Couldn’t walk!! Rhinocerossimus didn’t have any legs after he got combine harvested by my Dad!

Laurie:  Rog!!   I saw a dog with no legs up a tree at Gary Smith’s farm in Wangapeka only last week!!  His barking gave me the willies!!!

Rog!!    :  Nah!!  Rhinocerossimus was scared of heights and couldn’t bark! Dad cut Rhino’s tongue out one Saturday night to win a bet!

Laurie:   Mate!! I found a dog just like that yesterday and I took him in as a companion for me old Mum! Man did he wag his tail when Mum patted him!!

Rog!!   Nah!!! Rhino had no tail!! Don’t ask me how please!!!

Jerry:   Guess what??  My mate Bob rescued a stray dog from the Westport Pound only last week. Fits Rhinocerossimus’ description perfectly!! Had “Rhinocerossimus” stylistically engraved on a silverl plate on a brown leather collar!!

Rog :      Nah!!  Rhinocerossimus couldn’t read nor write!! Also he was allergic to the colour brown!!

Laurie:  Rog!!  Man is it your lucky day!! I saw a black lab with no legs, no tail and one ear, that was scared of heights and answered to Rhinocerossimus last Sunday at the St. Pat’s church service in Hokitika. He was playing the church organ!!

Roger:    Nah!!  Rhino’s a Bhuddist!

Jerry:   Well I must be going Laurie.  Catch you around mate!


Laurie:   Cheers brother!

Jerry:      I…. You…..  We….. ??

Laurie:   Nah!!!

Jerry:     Nah!!


 A Busy Week for Jesus:

Texas Hold'em at Rongo with Jesus Tonight...High Stakes!

SuperMoo Reporting…

New Zealand’s Aviation Pioneers

Supermoo with a wooden propeller from plane wreck on Karamea Beach (circa 1874 Proof that New Zealanders were the 1st to Fly)

Residents of Aotearoa are well aware of the aeronautical history of their great nation, but the rest of the world apparently believes the Wright Brothers were the first humans to take flight.

A recent discovery of a wooden propeller on Karamea Beach by intrepid investigative reporter SuperMoo dispels the popular myth and restores the truth…Kiwis can fly and fly they did, a full two decades before the Wright Brothers were even born!

The propeller is believed to be the only remnant of a flying machine built by early regional pioneer, philanthropist and aviator Harry “Biggles” Simpson…great, great Grandfather of our very own flyboy Jack Simpson, who carries on the family tradition with regular wobbly flights in his home-made ultralite aircraft…hit the ground when Jack flies overhead…the bugger’s mad!

Recent stormy weather uncovered the propeller, which has been hidden beneath the white sands of Karamea Beach for over a century. The propeller is beautifully crafted from a single piece of local rata and is in excellent condition, well preserved and protected from the erosive elements deep in the sandy archive of history, only to be revealed two centuries later to set the historic record straight.

The New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) sent representatives from Nelson to examine the prop and authenticated the find, which was later carbon-dated to verify its providence. Forensic tests were also conducted and traces of human blood were found on the propeller leading investigators to deduce that the pilot had inadvertently been speared through the rotating propeller on impact with predictable results. Researchers at the Karamea Museum discovered a report from The Karamea Bugle (an antecedent of The Rongolian Star), which reveals that the minced pilot’s last words were apparently, “Seat Belts!! Somebody PLEASE invent seat belts!” before he succumbed to his horrific injuries and hung up his goggles.

CAA spokesman Cessna “Top Gun” Piper said after examining the propeller, “The prop weighs in excess of 100 kilograms, so the aircraft must have been massive and its donk impressive. “I imagine the single-seat plane would have been as large as a modern-day 747-700, which can carry over 400 passengers,” He added.

New Zealand filmmaker Peter Jackson, an avid aviator, is in talks with SuperMoo for the rights to the story and is reported to be negotiating with a major Hollywood studio to make an epic about this important piece of Aotearoa history. Jackson was unavailable for comment, but his PA Jack Peterson said, “This discovery will rival “Lord of the Rings” in bringing New Zealand’s greatness to the world stage.” To which SuperMoo responded with his trademark, “Arf, Arf.”

Cometh the Hour Cometh the Man


The 1st Heaphy ConquerorThe Heaphy Track was first conquered by Charles Heaphy, who traversed the mountain pass between Collingwood and Kohaihai in 1865. Charles Heaphy V.C.   Brief History:

Charles Heaphy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Major Charles Heaphy VC (1820 – 3 August 1881) was a New Zealand explorer and a recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious military award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. Charles Heaphy was born in LondonEngland the son of an artist. He was just seventeen-years-old when he was appointed as resident Artist and Surveyor to the first New Zealand Company expedition to New Zealand, sailing with William Wakefield on the Tory and arriving in what later became known as Wellington late in 1839. In 1841 he joined Arthur Wakefield on the expedition that led to the founding ofNelson. From here he took part in several expeditions to explore the north west corner of the South Island. In 1848 he was appointed gold fields commissioner at Coromandel. In 1859 he joined the Armed Constabulary as a volunteer. He was approximately 43-years-old, and a major in the Auckland MilitiaNew Zealand Military Forces, during the Invasion of the Waikatoof 1863-64 (one of the campaigns of the New Zealand Wars).

For his gallant conduct at the skirmish on the banks of the Mangapiko River, in New Zealand, on the llth of February, 1864, in assisting a wounded soldier of the 40th Regiment, who had fallen into a hollow among the thickest of the concealed Maories. Whilst doing so, he became the target for a volley at a few feet distant. Five balls pierced his clothes and cap, and he was wounded in three places. Although hurt, he continued to aid the wounded until the end of the day.Major Heaphy was at the time in charge of a party of soldiers of the 40th and 50th Regiments, under the orders of Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Henry Marshman Havelock, Bart., C.B., V.C., the Senior Officer on the spot, who had moved rapidly down to the place where the troops were-hotly engaged and pressed.[1]

For this action he was awarded the Victoria Cross; the first colonial soldier to receive it. Von Tempsky wrote that “Heaphy has the (Victoria) Cross and I want it”, which may have caused the reckless action leading to his own death. In 1865 he was appointed Chief Surveyor for Auckland and in 1867 elected to the House of Representatives for Parnell, a suburb of Auckland. In 1878 he was appointed as a judge of the Native Land Court but retired two years later due to ill health. Charles Heaphy was an accomplished artist and his watercolours are an important record of many scenes in the early days of European settlement in New Zealand. However, his name is most known now through the Heaphy Track in the north west corner of the South Island. He and Thomas Brunner were probably the first Europeans to walk through this area of the South Island and although he never followed the route of the Heaphy Track, it is named in his honour. He died in BrisbaneAustralia, in 1881 and is buried at Toowong Cemetery, Brisbane.

Rongo Backpackers & Gallery: Heaphy Track MTB Base Camp

(For ROCK HARD riders only…)
The New Millennium Explorer and pioneer rides a Hi-Tech space age mountain bike with all the naughty bits in the right places.

 Today’s Kiwi heroes aren’t climbing Mt. Everest – passé, running miles in sub 4 …yawn!!, splitting the atom…child’s play, inventing pavlova, the buzzy bee, who cares! cracking bad jokes about your wife’s mother in law…so she’s a slut.. .yeah??

No they are riding the Heaphy Track between weka fart and witching hour.  Eighty four kilometres of torturous, rugged, mountainous trail with voracious timber wolves lurking behind every fern bush, waiting, drooling, slobbering, salivating, for the wafting scent of Rongo guest who didn’t do their dishes and had their bikes secretly oiled by the Big Man with Extra Extra Virgin Olive oil. Did I say VIRGIN?? No, I said Extra Extra Virgin!! Ai Caramba!!  

Mountain biking the Heaphy Track is not for Mummy’s Boys, snot gobbling fairies from England’s finest public schools, Dizzy Dorises nor couch cabbages super glued to FaceBook. The trail is for Kiwi Weetbix Superheroes who can rip it up in 1 day!!  Rongo is currently on combat alert after hosting a wave of wannabe All Blacks who enjoyed an amazing Heaphy Track Conqueror’s Feast after climbing their personal mountain.  

True Story! Peter Taylor from Christchurch and his mate staggered into Rongo just after midnight. Looking absolutely knackered after completing the Track. Started at 8 am at the Brown Hut. Ran out of sunlight after being chased by a pack of timber wolves and having to climb a tree and wait for an unsuspecting biker to come along and become a proxy hors’d’heuve, and sure enough a couple of innocent tasty young school girls saved the day. Slurp!!

Peter Taylor: Modern-Day Heaphy Conqueror

Peter and his friend Alex hadn’t eaten in hours, polished off the remains of a Heaphy Track Conquerors Feast after the Rongo wwoofers who aren’t famed for their table manners had gorged themselves silly. Kaylee had a head start on all of us! I have never seen a big bowl of the Big Man’s parsley gobbled with such gusto!! Washed down with Watties 3 Star Tomato Sauce, a jug of Rongo’s finest (well actually a bottle of D.Y.C Vinegar, shaken not stirred of course!) and finished off with a raw carrot, two satisfied laddies headed off to the Karamea Farm Baches with their teddies for Morningtown Ride! Does Rongo look after its guests with life’s finest looxories?? Too Right!!  

Here is a serious question. When the going gets tough do you whinge, snivel, whine and cry for Mummy? When the carnivorous timber wolves baying for your blood howl by the silvery moon do you wet your nappies? When the Kohaihai Taniwha has got a sharpened kebab with your name on it do you shiver with fear?  When the Karamea 4-Square has run out of Dark Ghana 70% CACAO!! Do you finally get down on your knees and pray to Jesus?  

Well check in at Rongo and take refuge in our infamous hot soothing fire bath. Illuminated by the moon and the stars, garnished with the tasteful aroma and ambience of organic thyme, lie back and soak in the soup.  So the water is  a bit too hot, so there are sprigs of The Big Man’s parlsey and the peace garden herbs floating in the bowl, so you are shackled into the bath with chains and handcuffs, so it’s almost the woofers dinner time.  Schnell!!

Relax!! Listen to the melodious chords of Alistair Yankovic yodelling “Just eat It!” Oh wow!! listen to the tribal rhythms of the dinner drums of the secretive Goobleyouwamboozi tribe of Northern Borneo famed for their……….appetite.  Guess what mate?? It’s time to sing Hallelujah!!

Chow Down Dudes!! Hot broth is just about ready!!  Oi!! Stop screaming you will ruin everyone’s digestion!!

Heaphy Conqueror's Feast: World Famous in Rongolia


Road Kill Café!

Weka Surprise!, Pukeko Nibbles!, Giant Spotted Kiwi Chowder! White Heron a la Barbecue! Taniwha Tortillas! Que? A drink monsieur? Mais Oui! Ey Laurent du champagne pour monsieur!!  Lemon and Paeroa !! Ha he will never know!! Mais oui monsieur!! C’est comme une jolie femme qui veut pour plus d’amour. Oui naturellement monsiuer, c’est magnifique, cela a du « Je ne sais qoui! » Une fois?? Plus meilleur que Le Brut et Charles Heidsieck!! Le vin de Karamea!! Cor blimey Kaylee these frogs will swallow anyfing!!  Pardonnez moi monsieur? Qu’est ce que je dis a la jeune fille de la champagne?? Eh bien j’ai dis que (strewth Kayee help me out, bloody nosy beggar!) Oh! Vois a cela!! A la monsieur!! Que’est ce que c’est?  (Kaylee, quick give him some pud and tell him to naff orf!) Rongo has guests flying in from the boardrooms of Tokyo, the trading floors of The City, the inner sanctums of the Kremlin, the dark mysterious jungles of Peru to dine a la carte at Rongo’s internationally famous Wild West Gourmet Soiree every Tuesday.

Rongo Road Kill Cafe

Rongo’s Restaurant motto “You kill it we chill it, you stab it we slab it, you look, we cook.” Visualise succulent slowly steamed Pukeko cooked in white wine and a herbal garnish just lightly falling off its bones and deliciously melting in your mouth accompanied by Comrade Duncan’s Rimu Beer! Yowser!

Such is the acclaim and popularity of Road Kill Café on Tuesday nights that Rongo has urgently embarked upon a breeding programme for Giant Spotted Kiwis. Such is their extreme rarity and obvious delicacy a bounty is being currently offered for the immediate purchase of three healthy breeding hens!! You know Rongo guests just never seem to be satisfied!! The Weka Surprise is really chewy! The White Heron Spare Ribs are half raw! The Giant Spotted Kiwi in this bowl is still squawking for crying out loud, can’t you shut it up! Laurent!! What is the birdbath doing on the table!! Smack!! You prefer the derriere?? Ok!! Talk about fussy!! Jafas from Dorkland, Canterbury’s grandsons of the first pioneers from the 1stship, yeah yeah… look mate no one really cares.! Look mate! $100 a head, all the grog you can skull in 5 minutes, the Rongo Dancing Girls. What da ya mean? Where would this troupe be without the Big Man??

Rongo Dancing Girls

Hey shut up all right!! Do we ever get “That was delicious, compliments to the driver, I want to pay the bill in cash now, can you please entertain my daughter for me, wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more, say no more!” No! We slave our guts out for the sheer enjoyment of watching you spoilt brats gobbling our largesse and all we get is lots of bitching!! So do the dishes you schwein!! Orright!! Arf, Arf! #################################################################

LivingInPeace ProjectKaramea, New Zealand

By Craig Gallagher

I recently travelled back home to NZ and visited The LivinginPeace project in Karamea which is situated at the northern end of the West Coast Road of the South Island. The LivinginPeace Project began in 2004 and aims to incorporate the elements of travel, art, education and permaculture into a sustainable business. Karamea is like a little geographical island paradise in the Kahurangi National Park. The climate is warm year-round and the region is blessed with fertile soils, plentiful rainfall and lots of sunshine. Almost any crop can be grown there, including bananas.

Founder, Paul Murray, studied permaculture with Bill Mollison and Geoff Lawton at Melbourne University in 2009 and has since been working on developing a 7-acre permaculture demonstration farm as part of the Permaculture Master Plan. He sees permaculture as a positive way to provide a quality life for his family and wants to make the permaculture farm a feature of his business in the hope that guests at his accommodation facilities (Paul owns a backpackers and baches) will be able to experience permaculture first-hand and learn about sustainable food production during their stay. “I conduct daily tours of the farm and answer people’s questions in the hope that they will develop an interest in permaculture while they are here,” he said. “Every year, we have over 50 different nationalities coming to stay with us and I see this as an excellent opportunity to spread the word about permaculture.”

The LivinginPeace Project is certified carbon neutral and the project undergoes an annual audit by Carbon South, a Christchurch-based carbon assessor. Environmental and energy efficiency considerations are the focus of every business decision and the ultimate objective of the permaculture farm is to be able to produce sufficient food to feed all LivinginPeace Project volunteers and also to have a restaurant to feed guests with food that has been grown on the farm. Murray believes that a significant carbon saving can be made by doing so. “Karamea is possibly the most remote town in the South Island of New Zealand, so if we invite people to visit Karamea and then import all the food to feed them while they’re here it would be very inefficient, so a significant carbon gain can be made by producing all the food we need for our guests help to maintain the carbon-neutral status of the business and also enable us to provide them with locally grown, freshly picked, nutritious, enzymatically rich, healthy food,” he said.

The LivinginPeace Project is run entirely by volunteers and has been a Wwoofing host for seven years. “Wwoofers are travellers and I am very grateful for the wonderful people who have come to help develop and manage the project,” Murray said. “We strike a mutually beneficial arrangement with our Wwoofers, we ask that they help develop the farm and run the businesses and in return, we offer a great place to stay, all the facilities and services we have for our guests and the opportunity to learn about permaculture.”

Travellers are able to defray the cost of their adventure in return for their labour, whilst staying in one of the loveliest places in New Zealand and exploring the Kahurangi National Park, Oparara Basin and the Heaphy Track — one of New Zealand’s “Great Walks.” Art is another facet of the LivinginPeace Project and there is an annual artist-in-residency programme whereby artists are invited to spend several months in the summer and offered free accommodation so that they can live and work on their art in a region renowned for its natural beauty. In the past, resident artists conduct art workshops, drawing classes and held exhibitions as part of their residency and art is a very important feature of the LivinginPeace Project. The permaculture farm is designed with aesthetic considerations with artworks incorporated into a creative design and is a pleasant place for visitors to experience and enjoy.

In 2011, the LivinginPeace Project launched the “Permaculturalist-in-Residency Programme” whereby an experienced permaculturalist is invited to stay and work with the Wwoofers on the farm as an instructor. This enables Wwoofers to learn more about permaculture and its practical applications and also enables permaculture instructors to gain valuable experience in supervising and assisting the learning process of novice permaculturalists. The programme has proved very beneficial for both students and teachers and the permaculture farm development has also benefited from the input of experienced permaculture practitioners matched with the enthusiasm and energy of the Wwoofers.

The first Permaculture Design Course will be offered in Karamea from August 7-20, 2011. This course will be conducted by myself, Tim Barker, Justin Sharman Selvidge and Paul Murray. (For more information on the PDC, please go here.) Together with the theory of permaculture, the LivinginPeace Project PDC will also focus on the practical application of permaculture including workshops and demonstrations, along with excursions to other permaculture projects in the region and visits to natural forest systems.

The LivinginPeace Project has an 80-acre (31-ha) forest block as Zone 5 and it acts as a carbon sink to offset the carbon emissions produced in the service of the business, including partial responsibility for the carbon emissions of visitors to the project, most of whom come from the Northern Hemisphere. The forest is tremendously diverse and provides an excellent example of a balanced natural system for people to observe and experience. The LivinginPeace Project is a progressive and innovative business that seeks to positively incorporate permaculture into the business model to improve the efficiency and minimise the environmental impact of the venture. For more information on the LivinginPeace Project, please visit: or contact Paul Murray:

  • 0064 (0)3 7826-767
Off the Top of my Head
Karamea: Top of the West Coast
By Paul Murray

Paul Murray Atop Mt Stormy in Karamea

Don’t be surprised if everyone waves to you as you pass by in Karamea…it’s that kind of place.

If you’re among the growing number of travellers who are looking to escape the usual tourist route for a subtler but more genuine Kiwi experience, you’ll be on the right track when you head for the Karamea region, at the top of the South Island’s West Coast. Enveloped by the Kahurangi National Park and sealed in by the Tasman Sea to the west, Karamea is a geographical island paradise with a wealth of natural beauty just 100 kilometres up the coast from Westport.

The road to Karamea is one of the most beautiful drives in the world and affords stunning views of the Tasman coast, river valleys, verdant forest and jagged mountain ranges. The journey takes you north from Westport, through the charming seaside villages of Granity and Hector and across the Mokihinui River before heading up into the densely forested mountains of the Kahurangi National Park, you’ll pass ancient tree giants, beneath majestic tree ferns and go high over the Karamea Bluff (stop your car, check out the view of the Tasman from the mountain top and listen to the symphony of birdsong) before dropping into the broad alluvial coastal plain at Little Wanganui. You’ll pass happily grazing dairy herds on lush green pasture, the expansive Otumahana Lagoon and over the mighty Karamea River before arriving in the beautiful hamlet of Karamea…getting there is just the beginning of your adventure.

Verdant Rainforest in the Oparara Basin

There’s a wealth of sightseeing opportunities on offer in the Karamea region. The Oparara Basin has a full day of activities, including cave tours through the Honeycomb caves where you can see a very well preserved skeleton of a giant moa, an underground river, a limestone cathedral lit by a myriad of glow worms, ancient limestone pillars and chandeliers and exit from a massive arched cavern straight into verdant rainforest. The road into the Oparara Basin from Karamea township winds through the beautiful native rainforest of the Kahurangi National Park. A new track opened in 2008 connecting the Oparara Basin Road to the Fenian Track to make a loop from two previously no exit tracks. The Oparara Valley Track follows the Oparara River taking in the Fenian Caves, historic gold-miner’s hut at Fenian Flat, huge ancient rimu trees at Sunshine Flat, the mirror tarn and Moria Gate arch and ends at the information boards in the Oparara Basin car park.

Moria Gate Arch: Oparara Basin

Along the many short walks in the Oparara Basin, you’ll pass through an enchanted wonderland of prehistoric moss-covered vegetation from mighty natives to tiny colourful mushrooms, lichens and flowers. The biggest limestone arch in the Southern Hemisphere is at the end of one track, a massive stone structure bridging a large river and forming a tunnel for more than 200 metres. The Moria Gate arch is smaller, but a highly spiritual place for quiet introspection and meditation in the bosom of nature…a visit to Moria Gate is a must. A little further on is the Mirror Tarn, a still pond about the size of a rugby pitch. Tall beech trees grow right to the edge of the water, sheltering the surface from any breeze. The leaves of the beech trees fall into the water and release their tannins, staining the fresh water a dark tea hue, which allows for a perfect mirror of the sky…to stand at the water’s edge and look down into the sky is an astounding pleasure. The tracks in the Oparara Basin are easily negotiated and allow people of all ages to experience amazing natural features that would otherwise have been hidden to all but the most extreme adventurer or hardened bushman.

West Coast MTB Association President Samson "Pedals" Elijah on the Heaphy Track

One of New Zealand’s nine great walks, the Heaphy Track, finishes (or starts, depending on which way you’re heading) at Karamea. The 82-kilometre, four-day tramp attracts visitors from all over the world every year. Many people choose to walk only to the first or second huts on the track instead of walking its entire length. The huts, Heaphy and Lewis, are Department of Conservation-maintained bush cabins with gas cooking facilities, open fires, bunks with mattresses, large camping grounds, toilets and running-water facilities. Live like a millionaire for as little as $30 a night, awake to a choice of view: pristine mountain scenery or the roaring Tasman Sea. DOC have opened the Heaphy Track to mountain biking from May 1 to September 30, 2011 for a three year trial, so this year, you’ll be able to ride to Karamea on the Heaphy Track.

Closer to town is the Karamea Gorge, a trout fisherman’s paradise. One of its features, the aptly named Big Rimu Tree, is a tree so large that when the region was logged about 60 years ago, the technology available at the time was insufficient to handle a tree of its size—It must be seen to be appreciated and to stand beside its mammoth trunk is a quite humbling experience.

Karamea Estuary

There is also fishing, surfing or bird watching at the Karamea River estuary. For those interested in the latter, black swans, egrets, ducks, pukeko, oystercatchers, herons, gulls and hundreds of other birds congregate at the estuary. Tuis, wood pigeons and bellbirds will wake you in the morning with their dawn chorus…and there is a vast stretch of sandy beach-–where you might stroll along all day without encountering a soul…except perhaps your own!

Most Karameans are Keen Golfers

If a round of golf is your thing, don’t forget to bring your clubs and try out the decent nine-hole course right next to the beach …with a little imagination, the Tasman’s roaring surf could easily be the crowd at St. Andrews!

DJ Smokin' Live on 107.5

On the drive back, tune in to the community radio station, which broadcasts 24/7 from a shed behind Rongo Backpackers. At 107.5 FM you’ll hear an eclectic mix of music, humour, debate and social commentary. The region’s past includes gold rushes, a flax boom and a huge timber industry. Karamea was once a thriving seaport and has weathered freak storms and earthquakes. Details of these and other historical happenings can be checked out at the local museum.

The Karamea region remains a peaceful natural enclave of forest, sea and sky…you’ll love what they haven’t done to the place!

For More Information on Karamea: Karamea Community Web site:    

About LivinginPeaceProject

Paul Murray is the founder of the LivinginPeace Project. Paul originally from Australia, but have been living in New Zealand for 14 years. Before that he was in Japan for a decade working as a journalist. He met his wife Sanae in Japan and they married in 2008.
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1 Response to The Rongolian Star: Issue: 7, May 2011

  1. Nadia says:

    Hey there!
    I met ‘Laurie’ from May 2011 Rongolians Times. He’s a poet who travels round Australia – last I saw him:)

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