Monday, 20 March 2023

Okains Bay Museum

 This is a marvellous invaluable resource, a collection not just of European settlers' history and artefacts, like other museums, but of Māori history and culture too.

It is sited in an old cheese factory and is helping bring people back to the valley after the closure of the factory and other businesses.

It is heartening to see a community grow, still with a school and shop and other thriving business carrying on.

The valley has been hit by three tidal waves over the centuries, the worst of them basically picked up the contents of the bay and dumped it, blocking the navigable river. 

At one time ships could tie up by the bridge where the road goes up and over to Little Akaloa in the next bay westwards.  Now it is just small boats, and the annual trip out for the 60+ foot Waka.

There have been piers for ships to land and collect goods too...but the last of the three went when the roads department used the wood from its deck to mend the road bridge damaged in the 1960s tidal wave.....the upright supports were damaged and that was the end of it.

First though, the photos and history on display by the entry to the campsite behind the beach

Then to the museum

Set out like a village, with the two bigger buildings of the old cheese factory, one for Māori history, the other for European settler history.

This is the person behind the museum's existence.

Thanks be for people like him!

A store shed
Taonga are the expressions of culture. whare is house

There are so many things to see...and the work on them so skilful, weaving, carving, painting...

Then the other hall..

A cobbler's workshop...and others too, blacksmith, an old kitchen, first and second world war memories, the Country Women's Institute

Old small cottages, some built of slabs of wood.

Wind and water power made by the blacksmith
A carved figure ...blowing an instrument..and standing on a gatepost!

Over the road from the museum is a boatshed which normally houses two Waka.

One was over in Akaloa ready to be paddled at a weekend of boats.

That is a copy of this original which came from the Whanganui river...and was broken during transport and painstakingly restored over many years. It is over 60 feet long....and is breathtaking to see!

Then back over the steep and winding road...this is the view from the top...

And down to Wairewa (Little River) for a late lunch at the café and gallery there...and just by there...

I suppose you can make a place to stay out of almost anything?!

Saturday, 18 March 2023

Okains Bay

 Our last day out was to Okains Bay on the Banks Peninsula, mainly to see a museum recommended to us.

We started out towards Akaroa, drove the 7km twisty uphill...and the 7km twisty downhill..and headed left and uphill again.

The museum is 11km from the main road, up more twisty fairly steep roads to a crossroads with Summit Road....the name says it all!! about 500+ metres above sea a saddle between higher summits...then down a very steep and twisty road to Okains can see where the road starts from, right dead centre in the picture 

There is a campground behind the dunes, with impeccable public toilets...Britain certainly could learn a few lessons here....clean, tidy, accessible...

Then a walk on the beach

A beautiful beach with practically no litter...a fair number of shells...but only bivalves....and a dead seal!

I couldn't get near enough to the black birds with red beaks and legs.....

And then we went round the museum.....