Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Urupukapuka Pictures

I have had a few hikes on Urupukapuka island in the last 2 days. This is a large island that was once home to hundreds of Maori. There are archaeological sites all over the island including deep storage pits for the sweet potatoes they once grew here and Pa forts, guarded by defensive ditches. The oldest site dates from about 1340 but most have been built upon several times over the 600+ years of occupation. The island has trails all around its coast and the terrain is extremely rugged particularly on the north and east sides with drop offs of a few hundred feet.

Dotterel feeding on the beach. These little pipers nest here also.

Pohutukawa blossoms. The Tui birds and insects love these flowers that bloom around Christmas time. These trees are also referred to as Christmas Trees.

There is quite a large flock of sheep at the east end of the island. The wharf in this bay is used by passenger ferries who bring tourists daily. There was a restaurant here but it appears to be shut down.

DOC maintains the island and I met a warden who was patrolling with his terrier rat/mice dog. The island is pest free now, but they have had 4 incidents of introduced pests in the last few years. The terriers they use are crosses that are good ratters but also amenable to training, since the dogs and their trainers are involved in both public relation and extermination exercises. Apparently they have done genetic testing to determine that the rodents on the island have all come from the nearby mainland probably swimming over via the 'Stepping Stone' islands. Norway rats can swim kilometers and there are only a few hundred meters between these islands. DOC also maintains a network of baited rodent traps. Other rodents, such as mice, have likely stowed away in tents and come ashore at the campground on the east end of the island.

Panorama looking east. There is a Pa hill fort site to the right and the campground is on the left

"Rock and Roll Star "- a Baba 40 sailboat liesat anchor in a bay on the northwest end of the island. It's owner, Matthew and I explored this end of the island together.


Arnamentia said...


Your photographs are lovely. What sort of camera do you have?

Hope you are managing all right by yourself.

With very best wishes for Christmas and a happy New Year

Carol & Jon

Chris Bennett said...

Hi Carol and Jon,

Thanks for the kind words. We use an Olympus Tough TG820 underwater camera. I post-process the pictures, typically adjusting the contrast, saturation, and color balance a little as well as cropping if needed. Best wishes to you both for 2014.

The Cynical Sailor said...

Love your pictures of Urapukapuka! We had a great time hiking there when we were cruising up in BOI this year. Your post brings back great memories!

Cheers - Ellen | thecynicalsailor.blogspot.co.nz