England, New Zealand, Travel

Robin Hoods Bay

We travelled the world to view something new, something old, and to ignite our sense of adventure.  Post-travel, I realised that there are far more similarities between New Zealand and the rest of the world than there are differences.

Two such places that have similarities are the Marlborough Sounds in New Zealand and North Yorkshire, U.K. having a similar named Bay, both in which we have visited.

Our introduction to touring around the Marlborough Sounds was via a small car and not our previously large motorhome and North Yorkshire was enabled by housesitting in various locations around the region.

It has been noted that our New Zealand Robin Hood Bay was initially named after the same-named bay close to Whitby in Yorkshire where Captain James Cook was born.  While another suggested, it was named after a ship.

During our visits to both Bays what stood out was the sweeping panoramic Bay views, the history and the changeable weather.

Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand

Robin Hood Bay - Marlborough Sounds_edited

In 2014, this bay was officially recognised as Waikutakuta / Robin Hood Bay.

This dual name is a result of respective Treaty of Waitangi settlements between iwi from Te Tau Ihu (tribes from the top of the South Island) and the Crown.

The Bay’s Māori name translates to water of the kutakuta.

Kutakuta is a plant, also known as the spike rush or bamboo spike-sedge. It grows to one metre in height and is found throughout New Zealand/Aotearoa in swamps. Maori weaving is one of the main uses of Kutakuta.

The bay has a long history of human occupation. An archaeological survey undertaken in the 1970s found evidence of low earthen walls and mounds on the flat land behind beach from prehistoric times. Also, there were remains of a sizeable kumera garden.

By the nineteenth century, there was a large settlement of about 300 people in the bay known as Otauiru Pa. The pa was initially a settlement for the iwi, Rangitane o Wairau but was taken over by Ngāti Toa by right of conquest in 1829.

Following the Wairau Affray in 1843, some of the surviving Ngāti Toa reassembled in the bay and buried their dead before leaving for North Island. Those buried included Te Rongo, the wife of the chief, Te Rangihaeata.

The Bay was considered too exposed to the storms of the Cook Strait/Te Moana-o-Raukawa as a base for a whaling station though one whaler named Captain George Jackson settled in the bay during 1849.   That year is around the time that the clay and timber cottage was built, in which they lived.  To this day, this house still stands.

Robin Hood Bay cottage_edited

The cottage has been designated a protected historic building by Heritage New Zealand and an information plaque stands nearby.

The next prominent European was Henry Stace, born 1847, in England.  In 1881, Henry Stace bought the property, he had previously been residing in Kaikoura.  During the mid-1880s, Stace established a school in the Bay for his family. Initially housed in the cottage built by Captain Jackson, the school rapidly attracted other children, and the roll rose to 18. The school operated until 1917 when it merged with Ocean Bay School. In total, 163 children attended the school.

During the Second World War, a coast watching station was built on the ridge leading up to Robin Hood Point. The track to service the station headed down into the bay.

Nowadays, the Bay comes alive with folk during the summer months camping at the  Department of Conservation [D.O.C.] campsite.

Robin Hood Bay Marlborough

North Yorkshire

Robin Hoods Bay in Yorkshire where it’s village tumbles down the side of the cliff in an attractive way accompanied by colourful cottages. It is renowned for it’s a long history of fishing and discoveries of fossils.  It has also been used as a setting for the film “ Phantom Thread”, then visiting Robin Hoods Bay may interest you.

Robin Hoods Bay 2_edited_edited
Not sure what this film crew were filming though it did attract our attention.

As the crucial scene between actors Daniel Day-Lewis, and Vicky Krieps first meeting was set at the Victoria Hotel.  Besides being used as a film set the hotel serves excellent food to enjoy the sweeping view across the Bay.

Robin Hood Bay Hotel_edited

Both Bays have unique stories attached to them and both equally interesting to visit for differing reasons.

32 thoughts on “Robin Hoods Bay”

  1. Very interesting history of the New Zealand bay area. Do you have to look up the spelling of all those indigenous names and words or do you know them well?

    As others mentioned, that Yorkshire photo with the reflection is awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, I don’t need to look up the spelling of all those Maori words, as the Maori language is on my spell check. I am familiar with most or if not then I will look it up. Don’t ask me to pronounce them. Most New Zealanders would be aware of our Maori culture especially for those that grew up surrounded by Maori culture and history as I did in the North Island.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Donna, I would hate to stop learning even if we have halted our travels. So much to learn about our own backyard even though Les and I have seen most of New Zealand. You are welcome and I appreciate your comments.


  2. We didn’t make it to Robin Hoods Bay in Yorkshire – we were heading there after lunch at Whitby and the rain came down. I have, however, been to RHB in Marborough but had no idea of the history, so thank you…I do love a story.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for the history lessons, Suzanne. Fascinating. So many names are repeated in different areas or countries. The US is a good example. So many towns can be found in different states. Funny thing is that people around here talk about Portsmouth, Salem, Lebanon, … as if I know in which state these cities are located. They might as well be talking about the UK or elsewhere. Of course, they’re not. 🙂

    That first photo with the reflection in North Yorkshire is a winner!!

    Liked by 1 person

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