[January 16 2015]
My good friend Harriet’s family have a hut on the side of the road just out of Kaikoura, New Zealand. They won it over a game of cards a couple of generations ago, and every year they go stay there for summer. There are heaps of seals and last year we spotted some whales. We swim, eat sea food all day and boil potatoes in seawater. At night we make drinks, a little fire, and go to sleep full and happy with waves on one side and the odd ten tonne truck on the other. It’s exciting – you sort of feel vulnerable. Kaikoura means, meal of crayfish in Maori. Kaimoana means seafood.
In Golden Bay, we stayed in a family friends barn. Awaroa is an inlet and very tidal, it is part of the Abel Tasman National Park. It’s accessible by boat if the tide is high or foot if low, and there are no cars. There is also a tiny airport, but no power, internet, cellphone reception or shops. When the tide is high in the day we take out the little old boat to other beaches. The colours there are very different, and the sand is so soft. The name Awaroa means long river in Maori but given there are two rivers and neither are too long, locals believe it may have originally been called Awarua – meaning two rivers.
Kawau Island isn’t too far from Auckland. You can drive to Sandspit an hour away and then catch a water taxi there. My Aunt and Uncle have a little bach that we’ve stayed at. It actually feels very luxurious, because they have power, hot water, an oven and a washing machine. You leave with your rubbish. There are lots of New Zealand’s native birds to keep you company and a small Yacht Club where you can get a beer and some fish and chips. We pick mussels off the jetty, have barbeques and a few drinks with the view. Kawau was named after the Kawau Paka; the white throated bird which breeds on the island.
Text and photo Harry Were