This scenic area is my go-to place for executing a reasonably easy 10km fast walk.
Until I discovered a few inclines and steps to throw in to keep my heart rate elevated. Though it isn’t all about racing around trying to look like an overheated fitness fanatic.
It includes enjoying the various birdlife and bush areas. Greeting fellow walkers, runners, walkers, babies in prams and not forgetting numerous dogs enjoying a swim as well as a run.
Then there are the areas steeped in ancient Maori history and legends [Tuhinga o mua]. A small part of that history is in the form of a small island named Motuopae Island, or Peach Island. It sits inside the harbour and not too far from the walkways.
The story [Kōrero]
Motuopae was originally a hillock among many small hills inland of Otumoetai.
Motuopae was in love with one of these hills but as so often happens, the lady did not respond to him at all. She turned her attention to another. Motuopae could not bear to stay around and watch his object of ignoring him in favour of someone else. He decided one night to swim out to sea. However, he dithered about this idea for too long before he started on his journey. He had only got as far as the Waikareao Estuary before the sun rose.
He could only travel at night.
The first rays of the early morning sun caught him on the mudflats of Waikareao and fixed him in his place there.
He could not move.
From there on in he sits facing out to sea.
Motuopae belongs to Ngai Tamarawaho of Huria, Judea Pa.
It was once the home of their ancestor Kinotaraia and his descendant of Tuarutapu. Some say Tuaurutapu was killed on the sandbanks of Motupae and the local people took the hapu name of Patutahuna. Today it is their urupa, a burial ground, where the bones of their ancestors rest in peace.
At some stage in history, it was then renamed Peach Island by the Pakeha (Europeans) because of all the peach trees that grew wild on the island.
It would indeed be a very daring child who would go and break the tapu on that island by eating any of those peaches.
This is yet another example of earlier Europeans changing the name of places when there was already a name chosen. The most apparent reason for me is that it is harder for people to pronounce the original title. This comes from someone whose pronunciation of words whether they be in English or another language is atrocious. Though to name it Peach Island, so unimaginative!! It is about as imaginative as naming our two islands North and South instead of;
Te Ika a Maui, meaning the fish of Maui, for the North Island,
Te Wai Pounamu, the waters of greenstone, for the South Island.
Though don’t get me started on the topic of why we chose to do what we do regarding the naming of where we live. There ends this story attached to an area in which I enjoy exercising.
What about where you live?.
Have you thought about the history and stories attached to those paths, lanes or tracks that you use on a regular basis?
They may have more significance than you realise.