We spent four relaxing nights with friends David and Ann in their beautiful home in Kerikeri. Not only were they wonderful hosts, but Kerikeri is the perfect location from which to explore the history and scenery that the Bay of Islands and New Zealand’s Northland has to offer.
The Waitangi Treaty Grounds is only a 20 minute drive from Kerikeri, and is considered New Zealand’s premier historic site. It was there, in 1840, that the country’s founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi, was signed by the British Crown and Māori Chiefs. The Treaty established a British Governor of New Zealand, recognised Māori ownership of their lands and other properties, and gave the Māori the same rights as British subjects. Whilst at the Treaty Grounds, we enjoyed a performance by Te Pitowhenua, who introduced us to their Maori culture through song, poi and stick games, culminating with the famous Maori Haka. I even got to play the role of Pakeha Chief for the performance, sharing a Hongi (Maori Kiss) to signify our peaceful intent!
Russell is only a short boat ride from Paihia, a small seaside town adjacent to Waitangi. For those historians amongst us, Russell is home to the Duke of Marlborough Hotel, New Zealand’s first licenced premises, who have been “serving rascals and reprobates since 1827”. We enjoyed the most delicious Bouillabaisse that I have ever eaten on the deck of the Duke. The Bay of Islands Anglican Church, Christ Church, is also in Russell, and this pretty little Church which was established in 1836, is New Zealand’s oldest.
Kerikeri itself is home to New Zealand’s oldest European buildings, and a spectacular 27m high waterfall, but you’ll have to return to Notforgotten.TV a little later to hear about those – I’ll tell you about them in my next blog.