Mana Station – Pāuatahanui Inlet & village – Whitby
19 November 2017
The light southerly we experienced contrasted sharply with the severe nor-west gale and king tide club members faced on this route on 24.7.2016 – see Tararua Annual 2016, pp 38-39.
From Mana Station we walked south on Te Ara Harakeke in Ngātitoa Domain to Pascoe Ave, then across Mana Esplanade/SH1 to Pāuatahanui Inlet. Along Camborne Walkway, with its interestingly decorated boatsheds, we met numerous people, some walking their dogs, others out jogging. At the toilet block near busy Grays Rd, we had scroggin and a briefing about the care we needed to take walking along the often narrow strip between the edge of the road and the sea wall. The leader wore a hazard jacket, and as cars approached, held his walking stick horizontally into the roadway, to encourage drivers to move toward the centre line when passing us.
As we approached Kakaho Stream, those of us who were on the 2016 trip were delighted to walk a new section of Te Ara Piko/The Meandering Pathway, c. 250 m long. This welcome boardwalk, raised above high-tide level, is part of a Porirua Rotary and Porirua City Council project to provide a safe and pleasant route along the north shore of the inlet from Mana to Pāuatahanui village. On sand-bars offshore we saw pūtangitangi/paradise shelducks, the white heads of the females contrasting with the black heads of the males.
Motukaraka Point features, on the east wall of the toilet block, panels about the area’s natural history. Further along panels describe the site’s Māori history, the US Marines’ camp there in World War 2 and a map of the site’s first subdivision with the names of the property owners. We had a close encounter with a fledgling song thrush, nervous on the grass, either calling for its parents, or warning us to keep our distance. At the end of the walk around the point, we moved onto the older-established sections of Te Ara Piko, safe from the traffic, out among salt-tolerant native plant communities.
We read the informative panels at Ration Point, but ruled it out as a lunch spot, because of the cool breeze. Pressing onwards, we then read panels about the wetland vegetation, which helped us to identify salt-marsh ribbonwood, coastal tree-daisy, and the jointed rush, oioi. We saw numerous webs of nursery-web spiders on the shrubs near the track. Close to the entrance to the track in Pāuatahanui Wildlife Reserve, we read panels about the history of Pāuatahanui village, then ambled through the forest, some natural, some planted. Our lunch possy in the sun was on the side of Pāuatahanui Stream, some of us on a bench seat, other happily lounging on the grass.
Once in the village, we climbed to St Alban’s Church and its historic cemetery. The vicar, Graeme Ogilvie, David’s brother, introduced himself, and reopened the church so he could tell us about its history, and so we could admire its floor, walls and ceiling of native timber, and the stained-glass windows.
Reinforced by ice-creams at Pāuatahanui Store, we walked past the Lighthouse Theatre, then saw a kōtare / kingfisher calling ‘kek-kek-kek-kek’ from a power-line, while a welcome swallow flew anxiously around it, as if to say “Do not eat my fledglings”.
Beyond the bypass under SH58, we reached Joseph Banks Drive, Whitby, then entered a walkway up a valley which featured a fine kahikatea. Soon we reached Navigation Drive and the terminus of the no. 236 Whitby bus. We had a little time up our sleeves, so walked up a pleasant path, partly through bush, to Samwell Drive and a bus stop. We were the only passengers on the bus to Porirua Station. The prompt arrival of the connecting train service rounded off our outing very well.
- Party members
- Diana Barnes, Muriel Christianson, Bob Cyffers, Michele Dickson, Cecil Duff, Chris Horne (leader and scribe), Stuart Hudson, Dianne Lee, Peter Shanahan, Lyn Taylor.