Saturday, 19 November 2016

Purakanui - Another view of Dunedin

I love taking photos. There isn't probably one day I don't shoot a camera, or am not thinking of framing an image. You might say I am obsessed but aren't eccentric people the happiest?

I was looking through my images and realised I have many that are quite dark. I love the golden hour and blue hour, however arguably it lends itself to darker images. I decided to broaden my brightness! So that night a discussion around how to combine three factors occurred. How to combine photography, dogs and exercises with bright light. Dogs rule eh!

So over to Purakanui we trotted. I had not been there for years, and what a wonderful place this is! We were meet by some Royal NZ Spoon Bills. You don`t often see them cross the road!

Another name for a section of this area is Mapoutahi (which is the headland where the Pa site is situated), Osborne and Purakanui which is the inlet bay identified on the map. A link for a map: Purakanui

On a sunny day this place is stunning - and although lupins are considered a weed, they add some bright happy yellow to your day there.

The beaches are amazing, and if your keen on an a good ol southern swim, I dare you to strip and make a dash for the water! Go on....

Mapoutahi point is in the above photo. Pretty cool to visit as this is where the old pa site is. Be very cautious as there are very large drop offs and no safety fences - so hang on to young kids and your dogs.

Purakanui has some pretty ferocious history. This narrow headland was once the strategic location of a pa that was the scene of the last dreadful act in a feud that tore through the pre-European Maori community of the Dunedin area.
It began sometime in the mid-1700s when a leader named Taoka failed to make an expected visit to his cousin Te Wera, who took this as an insult. In response he took a war party to the Waitaki River and slew Taoka’s son. He sent two minor chiefs to bear the news to Taoka, perhaps hoping that he would slay the messengers and no further utu would be forthcoming. However Taoka was away when the messengers arrived, so they passed the news on to his wives and beat a hasty retreat, likely thanking their lucky stars.

The outraged Taoka laid siege to Te Wera’s fortified pa at Huriawa (which we will no doubt visit in future), but Te Wera had prepared for the attack by stockpiling preserved food, and fresh water could be obtained from a spring on the highly defensible Karitane peninsula. Eventually Taoka was unable to feed his war party and forced to leave. Te Wera quickly took the opportunity to leave for Stewart Island.

But Taoka still needed to settle the score, so he turned his sights on Te Wera’s ally, Te Pakihaukea, who chose to make his stand here at Mapoutahi, perching his pa atop cliffs that could only be accessed via a narrow strip of land. Back in his time, the water was deeper around the isthmus, making it an even more secure position than it appears today.

Taoka laid siege, but could not breach the fortress. Then one winter night he sent a scout to check the defences and discovered that dummies had been set up in place of the usual sentries. The vengeful chief seized this opportunity, broached the pa and slaughtered the inhabitants. It is said that only one man escaped, by diving into the ocean.

Once the massacre was over, the bodies were left piled up like a large heap of wood, which is the translation for the name of the bay – Purakaunui.

I am glad it is a far more peaceful location now, and encourage you to go visit. Make sure you take care of the area, respect locals and keep all dogs away from wildlife. There are blue penguins around too.

I think this is going to be a place I will visit and photograph much much more - so keep an eye out. I did catch a great panorama you can see looking across to Drs Point so click on the link and have a look.

Till next time - keep adventuring & photographing.

Andy Thompson Photography NZ

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