Life at No.22, New Zealand, Walks

The Waikareao Estuary Walk & Kōrero

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.

The Start

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.

Taonga commemorate Motuopae project

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.

Spring weather on the boardwalk

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.

40 thoughts on “The Waikareao Estuary Walk & Kōrero”

  1. There’s lots of history to be found in Berlin, you just need to walk a stone’s throw away and will stumble upon it. 😉 As to the names, I think German names can be quite difficult to pronounce for English speaking visitors. 😁 But our public transport systems do a great job anouncing stuff in German as well as in English, So that helps.
    I have a real fondness for the Maori language although I don’t speak it – yet. 😉 It sounds just beautiful to me and I’m glad that it’s being kept alive.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Around here people just love if you give it a try and speak German, even if it’s only “Ein Bier, bitte!” 😉
        I’ve heard it’s not the same in Paris, and I’m kind of terrified to try my bad French should I ever go there. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  2. What a beautiful place to walk and I too am so interested in the history of a place where I walk. I like to imagine people years ago, what they did, what they wore and what they talked about. I just love history and what an interesting history you have there as well as the unusual legends. A lovely read Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a place I should be walking this morning if I was feeling more motivated!! A change of weather! Anyway, I too love history and my imagination ran riot in Europe and the UK. So, now I’m delving into our local areas and it’s surprising me how much history “stories” there are around here that aren’t mentioned in the tourist brochures.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Hi Sam 🙂 guess what I finished my coffee, dug deep and headed around the estuary. Just got back and it luckily for me it didn’t rain 🙂 Yes, the weather can certainly play havoc with our moods eh!

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m pretty sure I’d have great difficulty communicating in Maori, Suzanne. You should see me spluttering to get my tongue around Portuguese. 🙂 🙂 I love the way you incorporate the legend into the post. It does look a lovely spot, though I noted what you said about the motorway. Walking with our groups is a bit of a struggle sometimes- getting the balance right! I’m a bit of a dawdler and a stop and starer 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Jo, I’m sure you could learn Maori if you’re able to speak Portuguese. It is a lovely spot and a special ecological area for birds etc. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Fascinating information, I happened to have written a blog today about indigenous tourism in Australia! Not nearly enough people take these options and learn the stories behind them according to the aboriginal people. You’re right though about the language being tricky, it seems a bit more well known in New Zealand but we need more indigenous language to be taught in Australia. Very hard I guess when there are so many different languages spoken though.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I wasn’t writing about tourism. We are fortunate that the Maori culture and legends are very much part of our society.

      It is not hard and the Australian Government has done so much disservice to the Aboriginal people and their culture. Hopefully one day there will be more recognition for the indigenous people and not only via tourism.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Janis, it is a lovely spot though part of the walk is alongside the motorway, then the next part goes over the boardwalk and more scenic areas. Lovely sunrises to stop me in my tracks!


  5. Surprisingly enough, I do think about the history of the streets I walk and run in. A couple of days ago I was struck by the number of bowling greens within walking distance. I had walked past two that day and there’s another one on my windy day running route. I haven’t lived anywhere else with so many greens and I wondered whether that was connected with the fact that we’re not far from the world’s oldest bowling green (1299 since you ask).

    On my non-windy day route I pass close to where much of Henry V’s army was gathered before it took ship for Normandy and Agincourt, although I have to confess I’m usually thinking about the pain in my legs rather than medieval soldiers.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. LOL for some reason you knowing the historical areas around your home is not a surprise. Now that is a very old bowling green.
      The historic area I show people around is near to 200 years old, which is getting up there as far as NZ history goes!!
      Oh I remember our visit to Agincourt and of course Normandy. Agincourt was very interesting and not well known by many French no doubt due to them losing that battle to the British.
      Normandy was just a very sad and sobering place to be.

      Liked by 2 people

          1. I thought you did know ☺ I was listening to a podcast recently in which a historian was suggesting that the battle didn’t take place at what’s generally accepted as the site. It was an interesting discussion,

            Liked by 1 person

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