Tag Archives: Whakatane_Harbour

Whale Island

Whale Island, or Moutohora in Maori (meaning whale), lies five and half miles off the coast of Whakatane, in the Bay of Plenty, of North Island, NZ. It is the remnant of a volcano. Purchased by the government in 1984, the island still displays its history with active hot springs– including a warm sand beach where access is not allowed.  The Department of Conservation has eradicated goats and rats and reintroduced native birds, bushes and trees. 

Meg and I enjoyed a late afternoon kayaking adventure paddling around the island with an outfitter, KG Kayaks. We returned in a gorgeous sunset. We had hoped to see blue penguins coming back on shore for the night, and dolphin. No such luck, but we were well entertained by seals doing wonderful ballet movements as we paddled close to the rocks where they hung out. We also enjoyed the lovely pohutukawa trees that bloom in December and are only found on coastal areas of North Island. We had missed doing this trip on earlier visits.  In the future, it is now on our “to do” list.

Whale Island from Air New Zealand flight to Whakatane

Meg paddling around Whale Island with KG Kayaks

Whale Island, KG_Kayaks

Kayaker with seal on right on rocks

Seal, Whale Island

Whale Island from Ohope beach

Wairaka and the Whakatane Harbour

Meg and I enjoyed a family dinner on the Whakatane Harbour before we left for home.  The Harbour is on the Whakatane river in the wide calm water before the river forms the bar with the ocean.  A lovely statue stands on large boulder inside the bar.  It remembers a wonderful Maori legend, as described on the city’s website:
“The bravery of Wairaka and the daughter of Toroa, captain-navigator of the Mataatua waka is commemorated by a statue in the Whakatane Harbour.. When the Mataatua waka (Maori) first arrive at Whakatane after making a perilous voyage from Ngati Awa’s ancestral homeland of Hawaiiki 600 years ago, the men left the women alone in the canoe while they went ashore.  When the canoe started to drift back to sea, Wairaka (defying the tapu that forbade women to handle a canoe) seized the paddle and brought the waka back to shore crying ‘Kia Whakatane au i ahau’ – I will act the part of a man.  This cry is said to the origin of the towns’ name.”
Besides watching the sun set behind Wairaka, we also enjoyed watching both a powered para glider and a paraglider drift back and forth about us, the river, and the cliffs, and then land gently as the light was leaving the sky.

Whakatane_Harbour, Whale_Island_NZ

Wairaka, Whakatane_Harbour

Powered_paragliding, Whale_Island_NZ

Wairakaka, Whakatane_Harbour

Whakatane_Harbour, Whakatane_River

“My soul is restless until it rests in you, O Lord.”

Early morning in Auckland, having just arrived from an all night flight from San Francisco, I enjoyed this March 27 reading from Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest: “The only way a servant can remain true to God is to be ready for the Lord’s surprise visits.  This readiness will not be brought about be service, but through intense spiritual reality, expecting Jesus Christ at every turn. This sense of expectation will give our life the attitude of child like wonder He wants us to have. If we are going to be ready for Jesus Christ, we have to stop being religious.  In other words, we must stop using religion as if it were some kind of lofty lifestyle–we must be spiritually real.”

As we serve and seek, we must remain ready and recognize His unexpected appearance.