Te Waewae Station, August 18 2010. Map: Local
Trampers: Vic Bullock, Paul Exeter, John Gray, Alison Greer, John Marshall, Les O’Shea, Kelvin Shaw, Peter Slagter and reporter Ken Ross
This was an eagerly anticipated new tramp. Te Waewae is a station inland from Kotemaori off the road to Wairoa. After a drive of close on two hours on generally very good roads, we were met at the gates by Ian, the station owner. He not only met us but had planned our route for the day and was going to accompany us.
As well as the cleared land, where Ian farmed sheep, cattle (Welsh Blacks) and horses, was a large tract of native bush that Ian had covenanted to protect and preserve it. This along with another large area, covenanted by his neighbour, form a very large native forest along the east bank of the Te Hoe River. We were to spend most of our day in this forest with its many giant matai and rimu and others that Ian said could be up to 2000 years old. The understorey is lush, as trees are re-establishing themselves following pest eradication measures.
We set off in overcast damp weather along a track that had been the farm access road until it was washed out by Cyclone Bola in 1988. Then we branched off with Ian in the lead on what was to be a circular route to later return to our start point. We generally followed west and south and although I always had confidence in our leader, he did on more than one occasion admit to not being on the intended route. Ian assured us that we were never lost; we were just not where he had intended us to be. We sat at the base of a magnificent matai for a mid-morning break before a long descent to what appeared to be a riverside plateau where we had lunch. No river, though, but nevertheless a pleasant spot for a well-deserved rest after a morning’s off-track tramping.
After lunch, we continued south before we emerged from the bush on a ridge with magnificent expansive views. We were looking down onto the Te Hoe River and Mohaka River confluence and Te Kooti’s Lookout was opposite. On the other side of the Mohaka River was Waitere Station. What a panorama!
From here, it was across the farm, mainly on tracks, back to the start. On the way, we took time out to admire Ian’s old but well preserved totara slab hut. From there, it was to another magnificent viewing point, which was the site of a memorial to the pioneer family who had broken in the original farm. After a cup of tea, we farewelled and thanked our host for a most enjoyable day.