Ka kata nga puriri o Taiamai*
A cruise boat ferries us up the Queen Charlotte Sound from Picton under a summertime sky and leaves us beside Captain Cook's plain but prominent monument at Ship's Cove. The cove is much as Cook would have seen it when, in January 1770, he raised the flag on nearby Motuara Island proclaiming British sovereignty.
Hiking overland for a day, we pick up our backpacks and bedrolls, which were left by the ferry at Furneaux Lodge. We stay overnight at the lodge in one of the camp huts before continuing our hike next day. We walk round the bay, admiring the seawater dancing in and out of the bush. In the deep, untouched forest we listen to the fluting, liquid calls of tui.
white pine on the topmost twig a bellbird's song
Giants of the forest, puriri, kamahi, kauri and rimu surround us. Stands of manuka and kanuka protect carpets of ferns, and darting fantails, waxeyes and wood pigeons fly through the trees. The sea changes in the light from green to blue and silver and we wish we'd brought our swimming togs.
swing bridge -
rattle of chain links
in the hand rail
Furneaux Lodge is only accessible by foot or boat. In the shelter of Endeavour Inlet, shawled by virgin forest, the old place is a true refuge. While sipping a cold drink at the bar we read about Patrick Howden who in 1904 bought 1000 plum acres running from Mt Furneaux to the beach and built a home that became the lodge. Half a century later, his son Harry left the bulk of the land to the government as a scenic reserve. As we set off on the boat back to Picton, a lady's parasol lifts off into the sea.
*The puriri trees of Taiamai are laughing.
Reed Book of Maori Proverbs, compiled by A W Reed & A E Brougham. Published by Reed Books, New Zealand. 2001.