Every reason the Chathams should be on your 2022 hit list

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Here’s a question that won’t appear in the Kiwiana section of the Strangled Ferret Pub Quiz next week. What is the only thing that all regions of Aotearoa must legally give to their residents?

Note: It’s not Three Waters or a decent garbage collection. It is “an annual foundation day on which employees can have time off”.

This act of generosity extends to our most distant council, although it was not included in the treaty, did not become part of the motu roof for several years, and at some point we wanted to push it on to the Germans. Or the French.

Waitangi Bay on the water in the Chatham Islands.  Photo / included
Waitangi Bay on the water in the Chatham Islands. Photo / included

These would be the Chatham Islands, 800 km east of Wellington, also known as RÄ“kohu (“Misty Sun”) in Moriori, Wharekauri in Māori and “The Islands at the End of the Weather Forecast” in NewZild.

Secluded, wild and absolutely fascinating for tri-culture, flora and fauna, lifestyle and history, the 660 locals celebrate their anniversary day – in typical lo-fi fashion – on Monday, which is closest to November 30th.

This honors the day in 1791 when Lieutenant William Broughton “discovered” the archipelago, named it after his Royal Navy ship, and claimed it for the British Empire. It was about 300 years late.

Let’s not joke about the story. Let’s find a number of reasons why the Chathams should be on your must-do list for 2022. Tip: book flights, beds, tours well in advance of your trip.

Sunrise over Waitangi Bay, Chatham Islands.  Photo / included
Sunrise over Waitangi Bay, Chatham Islands. Photo / included

1 Chatham Islands Museum
First stop so you understand why this place is so different from the mainland. The rest of the world, actually. There’s natural history – rocks, fossils (including dinosaurs), rare birds, and other wildlife. Then the culture, from its first inhabitants, the Moriori, to early European sealers, whalers, traders and missionaries, later arrivals of the Māori and even later European farmers. A new museum is planned, which is more than six times the size of the current one, because there is a lot of nature and history here.

2 The Moriori story
This feature is not the place to tell the Moriori story and the shameful part of our educational hierarchy in the bias, but Kōpinga Marae is certainly the place to learn about the indigenous people and the vow of peace they made when they invaded the year Not ready to break in 1835.Designed to commemorate the island’s basalt columns and the totem of the flying albatross, this is the base for the revival of language, cultural and community events. The statue of Tommy Solomon (Tame Horomona Rehe), the last known thoroughbred Moriori, who died in 1933 at the age of 49, stands in Manukau as a memorial for all his people. At Te Whanga Lagoon (see 5), look for the nation’s earliest works of art carved into limestone.

3 A Māori story
There can’t be many kiwis who don’t know that “Wharekauri” translates as “Kauri house”. In the 1830s, some Māori who lived with Moriori built a house out of kauri that were salvaged from the beach; within a few years it became the Māori name for the islands. Ponga Whare is a relic from the Chatham era as a New Zealand penal colony (see, it wasn’t just the Aussies). The government transported 250 Māori prisoners, their wives and children, including Te Kooti, ​​the RingatÅ« prophet, guerrillas and alleged spies. They built a fortress, houses, roads and did some agricultural work, building the harbor for their employer and his family before rebellion and commanding a ship to the mainland. On the beach, see the 5 million year old star-shaped lava formations of Taniwha or Splatter Rock; Oystercatchers and other rare sea birds nest here.

Tufts of grass and sand dunes on RÄ“kohu, Chatham Island.  Photo / included
Tufts of grass and sand dunes on RÄ“kohu, Chatham Island. Photo / included

4 … and a German
Who knew German missionaries made themselves strong in 1843. It wasn’t the most successful evangelical outing of all time – they didn’t convert a single local. However, they introduced large-scale horticulture, sheep raising, shipbuilding, and reading and writing, and built the Maunganui Stone Cottage in 1866-68. Passionate lifestylers, they built the building themselves from local stone, pee shell mortar and Akeake wood, surrounded it with orchards and vegetable gardens, a wool shed and stables, and drained swamps for farmland. Relations with Germany were not so cordial in 1940: its navy boarded and sank the islands’ floating countdown, the supply ship Holmwood, capturing the crew and local passengers.

5 Forget-me-nots
Plants. Sea birds. Marine mammals. You will be overwhelmed by the presence of so much and so visible nature. The islands are home to around 50 plants that are adapted to cold and wind, such as the forget-me-nots of the Chatham Islands, Rautini, Kakaha and Akeake or tree daisies; a breeding ground for huge flocks of sea and land birds – the magenta petrel, black robin and chatham oystercatcher, pigeon, parakeet, common snipe, shag, ringed plover and gerygon (I would fly two hours to seeing something called a gerygone). Sea lions, leopard seals, southern elephant seals and many species of whales swim here. Dive into the Awatotara Bush Coastal Track and hike through the native bush full of bird life to the rugged coastline. The three-hour hike leads to Tāiko Camp and the Gap Sanctuary. The NĪkau Bush Conservation Area in Te Whanga Lagoon is a 45-minute stroll through 19 acres of forest clearings to the towering palm trees that were once common here. Admiral Garden, 20 km from Waitangi, attracts birds, bees, and butterflies; People will appreciate the garden and the nearby Te Hau Kohaki wetland and bush reserves on the coast of Ngatere.

Chatham Island volcanic cone.  Photo / included
Chatham Island volcanic cone. Photo / included

6 On the rocks
Seriously ancient history – even older than glass milk bottles and dial phones. The basalt columns in Ohira Bay are a relic of lava flows from volcanoes that erupted about 80 million years ago. There weren’t any people around to see it, but dinosaurs would have enjoyed the show. While they look like they were stamped out of a factory – they’re geometrically perfect hexagonal columns – the formations were created naturally when hot lava met cold water.

7 Hunting, Fishing and Eating
Rod and weapon land. Surrounded by cold, clear water, these remote islands are world famous for year-round deep sea fishing: blue cod, hāpuku, kingfish, terakihi, blue moki, and shark, if things with fins are your thing; Crabs, pāua, kina if you prefer clams or exoskeletons. Hunters target pigs and more exotic prey: wild sheep that have roamed Pitt Island for 150 years, nibbling on lonely cliffs. For those stalking their game on the shelves, Chatham Island Food Co in Waitangi specializes in fresh, frozen, and live seafood. Honey from the unique flora is sensational: Go Wild Beekeeping has the last black British bees in the world and imported Italian breeds and produces a special freeze-dried range.

8 handicrafts
As expected, the unique culture, environment and way of life are an inspiration to artists. In Studio 440S, the legends and traditions of Moriori and Māori are expressed through pāua mosaics, acrylic on canvas and treasures from the natural resources of the Chathams. In her Kahukura studio in Admiral Gardens, Lois Croon creates paintings, jewelry and her signature forget-me-not ceramics, while Eva-Cherie Artz reinterprets her surroundings and surroundings in her studio in ÅŒwenga. Photographer Celine Gregory-Hunt has created a range of island-inspired merchandise, while Celestine Lanauze’s canvas, ceramics and clothing are part of the range at Chatham Cottage Gifts, Waitangi.

Mt. Hakepa, Pitt Island, in the Chatham Islands.  Mt Hakepa is the first inhabited place in the world to greet the new day.  Photo / Supplied by Chatham Islands Tourism
Mt. Hakepa, Pitt Island, in the Chatham Islands. Mt Hakepa is the first inhabited place in the world to greet the new day. Photo / Supplied by Chatham Islands Tourism

9 East side story
Pitt Island is home to about 38 people and is the only other inhabited island in these parts. There is a school (most older children board on the mainland), a wharf, a church, a grass landing area and a lodge. Most households have satellite TV and broadband, but each household must generate its own electricity (generator or wind turbine). A supply ship comes by every few weeks and the whole island unloads it. Why take the 20-minute flight or the 50-minute boat ride? For the pristine environment on land and water, the spectacular landscape of rolling farmland, wild coasts and bush-clad hills and valleys. Bird and Flora – the birds are more numerous than on Chatham; fish, dive and draw a pearl on these pigs and wild sheep. Historic Places: Glory Cottage, a shepherd’s hut built from kauri in the early 1860s. It’s an excellent example of carpentry: virtually no nails were damaged in the manufacture of this building; and Flowerpot Bay Lodge, the Hunt family’s homestead built in 1843 and run by their descendants as the only accommodation on the island.

10 Another pub quiz question
What is the first place in the world to greet the new day? When you’ve answered Maunga Hikurangi, head to the bar and take the next round. Mt. Hakepa on Pitt Island is believed to be the first inhabited place to see dawn. Climb it for 360-degree views of the archipelago and the sea, admire the bronze sculptures erected to welcome the millennium, and tell yourself, “I was the first person in the world to die today Has seen the sun “.

You have to know

The Chathams are about half a mile east of Wellington. Chatham is the largest island, Waitangi (200 inhabitants) the largest city.

Air Chathams operates flights from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch to Tuuta Airport (2 hours, give or take). It also flies to Pitt Island (20 minutes, advance booking required).

Chatham’s time is 45 minutes before the mainland; There is neither cell phone reception nor taxis. Accommodation is limited; no camping or freedom camping.

More info

Chatham Islands Tourism,

Before you travel, find out about the warning level restrictions and recommendations from the Department of Health. covid19.govt.nz


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