Te Whare Runanga at Waitangi, New Zealand, 2006

Te Whare Runanga at Waitangi, New Zealand, 2006

Waitangi. The word is weighted with meaning in New Zealand, as the treaty between the Crown and the chiefs of the many Maori tribes was signed there in 1840; and it's also home to annual celebrations on Waitangi Day (6 Feb) each year, which are sometimes controversial, or marred by protests against the government of the time.

But it's also now a scenic reserve, open to the public most of the year; and, in 2006 on a road trip with my parents (who were visiting en route back to Canada from a trip to Australia), I drove up north from Auckland to the Bay Of Islands area to see it.

Obviously, like the rest of New Zealand, it's stupendously beautiful, situated out on a peninsula with sweeping harbour views; but it was the traditional carvings in the meeting house (Te Whare Runanga) that drew me on that occasion, as they've drawn countless photographers over the years I'm sure!

The meeting house isn't as old as the treaty - it was built between 1934 and 1940, for the centenary of the signing - and is interesting in that the carvings within represent the different tribes of New Zealand, rather than being done in the style of the local iwi. (At least, that's how I understood it as a visitor, I hope I'm right!)

It's a place of great history, and great mana (or power) - and somewhere I'd really like to go back to again when I have a chance.

Te Whare Runanga at Waitangi, New Zealand, 2006

Te Whare Runanga at Waitangi, New Zealand, 2006

Funny thing about that trip - I remember having work in Wellington the day before my parents were arriving, so I stayed up late that night getting everything done in a rush so I could catch my flight to Auckland without worrying about my client needing something while I was gone. Got to Auckland airport, picked up the rental car (so we'd be ready to go when they landed), and waited by the gate for them to get in.

And, waited. And waited. Lots of people arrived, but not them. I went over to have a chat with the Air New Zealand folks, but of course for security reasons they couldn't discuss the passenger list with me. No worries, I'm sure they're just waiting for a bag. Hopefully, if they'd missed the flight (or gotten ill, or something) they'd have called me on my mobile.

An hour or two later, the Air New Zealand folks took pity on me, and waved me over to suggest that perhaps I might like to check the date my parents were arriving; not the time of their flight, the DATE. And that's when I discovered they'd missed a day on their schedule, and were actually still somewhere in Australia for another 24 hours...

So, I hung around in Auckland with a rental car for a day, then came back to the airport and repeated the process - much more successfully, this time!

Of course, it just wouldn't be a trip with my parents if I didn't photograph a bird of some kind, so here goes: a New Zealand dotterel. And yes, I looked at it in the photo today, and I knew it's name - admittedly, I double checked before hitting publish, but I was basically right. (I thought it might be a banded dotterel.)

New Zealand dotterel, Northland

New Zealand dotterel, Northland

And here's a bonus seagull, which I think was on our way back to Auckland so they could catch their flight out of the country, and me mine, home to Wellington.

New Zealand seagull on a picnic table, Northland

New Zealand seagull on a picnic table, Northland

This post is part of my ongoing 'Lost & Found' series, where I post images I've taken over the years that might never have been seen before. You can always sign up for my weekly updates if you'd like to see more of these!

Comment