Mana Island

Plimmerton, New Zealand – August 5, 2017

Earlier in the workweek, Leslie sent me a photograph of a crazy looking bug she found in our garage.  I had never seen anything like that bug.  I showed the photograph to several colleagues at work.  They instantly replied, “Weta.”

That crazy bug found in the garage.

The weta are an insect indigenous to New Zealand.  Think grasshopper with ferocious looking mandibles and spines.  My colleagues said they are a protected species.  Having not known that, had I been at home when the weta arrived in the garage, I probably would have dispatched the beast.  Leslie, on the other hand, was somehow able to coax the creature out of the garage and into the plants outside.  One of my colleagues told me there are large wetas, up to 10 cm (nearly four inches) long on Mana Island near Plimmerton.  I had no intention of setting foot on an island which is home to monsters, but I did want to see the island from a “safe” distance.

So, early in the morning, Leslie and I set out for Plimmerton, New Zealand.  We chose to drive Grays Road along the north side of Porirua Harbour to get to Plimmerton.  What a stunning day!  The water was smooth as glass.

We drove through the small business district of Plimmerton without stopping.  That is only because we had already had breakfast and coffee.  Just beyond the business district we made our first stop.  Much to our surprise, the Tasman Sea was every bit as calm as the harbor.

The rock formations lead the eye to Mana Island.

I think we were at the beach at low tide because the sea did not cover some very interesting rock formations.  The birds loved the rocks.  In the distance, we saw Mana Island.  Beyond Mana Island we saw the South Island.  It was such a beautiful day.

Back in the car, we drove along Moana Road.  It skirts alongside the beach.  We were ready to continue driving along the coast when we were met by a sign indicating only foot traffic was allowed beyond that point unless one was visiting someone or on business.  Since we were neither, we parked and walked along the beach, looking across the water to Mana Island.

The sign at the Hongoeka Marae.

We found the sign at the Hongoeka Marae.  A marae is a religious place primarily used by Maori Iwi (tribes).  They equate roughly to a church.  One of the signposts was carved into an interesting shape.

Our beachcombing is oddly relaxing for us.  You would think we find gold nuggets as excited as we get when we find that perfect shell.  As I have written before, it does not take a great deal to entertain us.

The hand-carved signpost.
A seabird on the rocks.
Gulls playing in the rocks.
Mana Island is directly behind the gull.
A rather panoramic view.
Mana Island is on the right in the distance. Farther away is the South Island.
View of a tidal pool.
Mana Island in the distance.
A shell visible in the tide pools.
A building at the beach.
The South Island is visible in the distance.
Enjoying the very calm Tasman Sea.
The Hongoeka Marae at the beach.
A bus in the Iwi area.
It actually looked more like a windbreak.
The chromed address numerals at the Hongoeka Marae.
Home of the “ferocious” weta.
An incoming ripple from the Tasman Sea.
A portion of Mana Island and the South Island in the distance.
Standing by the Tasman Sea.

One thought on “Mana Island

  1. What an interesting trip. Once again your story telling and photos amaze me Thanks for the trip and education.🤗

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