I am in the Bay of Islands. Drove here from Auckland this afternoon, it’s a three-and-a-half hour trip up the Northern Highway. Have just settled into a spacious motel apartment with an impressive seaview. This is Paihia, and a ten minute walk along the coast road north is Waitangi. The area is steeped in history, both Maori and Pakea.
The Northlands are the birthplace of colonization, both European and Polynesian. Maori legend has it that Maui caught a very big fish that became what we know as the North Island. The Northland peninsula is the tail of the fish.
Here in Paihia there is a mission station that dates back to 1823. Across the bay in Russell there is a printing press built by Roman Catholic missionaries (read French?) that printed forty thousand texts in Maori according to the LP guide. Needless to say, a ferry trip across there tomorrow is on the agenda.
There is an old stone church, Anglican, its noticeboard refers to both Anglican and Roman Catholic services. Sweet, only in New Zealand… 🙂
Then of course, the Treaty of Waitangi was first signed here in 1840. And a controversial document it has remained ever since.