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.