Dec 28

Day 5: Treaty House at Waitangi

by in New Zealand Travel, Sightseeing NZ

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Rain was predicted and it arrived later today. We walked from the hotel to the Treaty House at Waitangi. It is a pleasant walk and allows you to stop to notice the Maori pa before the bridge to Waitangi or the penguin we saw being dive-bombed by some birds.

Pay to Look

Non-NZ residents have to pay an entry fee to enter the Waitangi National Trust, but the strictness of checking this depends on the person you meet at the entrance to the complex. Sister-in-law Dawn had been here a few weeks ago when everyone in the group had to show their NZ driver’s licence. Today we were greeted by a chatty young chap who said, “I can tell that you are all New Zealanders, so you don’t have to pay to see your national heritage.”

He asked for just one driver’s licence, so Dawn did the honours. As it happens, Lesley, Kate and I are NZ citizens but we left for Oz permanently 30 years ago, so we were relieved not to pay the NZ$25 fee each. (Our NZ driving licences back then were like tiny passport books, with no photograph and they were phased out years ago.)

But there was a catch. He told us that NZ residents like to make a small donation to keep the place running and suggested buying a $10 calendar, so we bought two. It’s a quality product and will make a nice present.

The grounds have a host of birdlife, including the kiwi, which were not present, being daytime. We saw a NZ Fantail and a Tui (Parson Bird) and heard a few other bird calls while walking up to the Treaty House.

There are four main points of interest:

  • The Treaty House – built for the first British Resident, James Busby and his family. It is one of New Zealand’s oldest and most visited historic homes.
  • Te Whare Runanga – a fully carved Maori Meeting House, which is representative of all Iwi (regional tribes) in New Zealand.
  • Ngatokimatawhaorua – one of the world’s largest Maori ceremonial war canoes.
  • The imposing Naval flagstaff – which marks the place where the Treaty of Waitangi was first signed on 6 February 1840.

 

Te Whare Runanga at Waitangi

Te Whare Runanga at Waitangi

Inside Te Whare Runanga

Inside Te Whare Runanga

Largest Maori war canoe (waka)

Largest Maori war canoe (waka)

We were having lunch when the heavens opened and showed no signs of stopping, so we took a Tuk Tuk back to the hotel for $4 per person. We gave him a $20 note and he showed no sign of returning the change, so he got a tip (rare in NZ or Australia).

 

Paihia Tuk Tuk

Paihia Tuk Tuk - Keep the change

Russell

In the afternoon it was still raining and so we dashed to the ferry terminal and took the fast ferry (NZ$48 return for four people). It was a choppy ride but good fun.

Russell was the first capital of NZ and we had been there before, so we didn’t go to Bishop Pompallier‘s house or the flagstaff that Hone Heke kept chopping down.

 

Russell Police Station

Russell Police Station

We took a slow ferry back and had takeaway pizza ($16.40 for a one-person pizza at La Scaletta pizzeria) and fish-and-chips.

The evening was spent watching the NZ-Pakistan 20:20  cricket match and the Ashes match in Melbourne. Martin Guptill is Lesley’s 3rd cousin, so his fine performance was specially appreciated.

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