Keeping a hand written daily journal in my specially made Oamaru Book Bindery log, sending regular press releases with photos across NZ and Australia, preparing articles for the Oamaru Mail, handling a daily volume of emails and phone messages, while continuing to ride and maintain the bike has been a mission in itself. But the trip is well documented and well worth this time. Carrying a lap top computer on board has been invaluable.What it has meant though is from time to time I have been behind in my updates. This is one such a time. So recapping…..
Last week was truly one of my most memorable and hectic.. After Waitangi, the media and radio in the north were all carrying stories and pictures about the ride, so interest from passing motorists and well-wishers has been considerably more intense than usual. People stop me on the side of the road frequently to chat and offer food and refreshments, and most vehicles are sounding their horns which I always respond to with a wave.School visits have remained a priority, and seeing the childrens faces light up in excitement and awe upon seeing a wheelman ride into their playgroung is always a highlight. I have now been living on the road as a ‘modern day swagger’ for three months now.
So this update is being written from Awanui, on Thursday morning 16th February 2012. Tomorrow I will be at Cape Reinga. Recapping the journey since leaving Waitangi, and my time in Kerikeri visiting the Kerikeri Mission House and Stone Store was simply fantastic. The Mission was founded by the Church Missionary Society in 1819. The Store is the oldest standing stone building in NZ built in 1836, and the adjacent Mission House was built in 1822. It is the oldest surviving wooden house in the country. The Historic Places Trust (HPT) should be well commended for it’s fine work in maintaining these buildings and keeping them open to the public. Staff are in period dress are most knowledgeable about the history of the area. I had the good fortune to meet HPT representative at the Store, Elizabeth Bigwood, who duly presented me with a most fine medal she had made for ‘Cycling Bravery’. Worn with pride. Leaving Kerikeri, and I was met on the road by HPT rep Mita Harris. He was the organiser for the Waitangi Treaty Commemorations being held in and around Horeke last weekend, so after reaching the historic town of Kaeo, I left the ride there and dismantled Pioneer Spirit and loaded her on a trailer and was taken to the most magnificent Te Waimate Mission Station, NZ’s second oldest wooden house built in 1839. This was to become my base for three nights. The Commemorations were an outstanding event, celebrating the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi at the Wesleyan Mission House (built 1839) at Mangungu in Horeke. This occured on the 12th February 1840 following the Treaty signings at Waitangi and Waimate North. This signing was one of the largest meetings at the time of Maori and Pakeha and attracted between 2000 and 3000 people. During this gathering there were many debates about the Treaty. At the end of discussions, around 70 chiefs signed the Treaty at Mangungu. The following day, at nearby Horeke, a large feast was held to consolidate the signings. The 2012 Commemorations included welcomes, a church service, swimming and boating regatta, and waka events. A very large crowd were in attendance during two humid and fine Northland summer days.
Back to Kaeo, a visit to their wonderfull little museum, and back on the road, staying in the historic towns of Monganui and Taipa. My right shoe sole fell off completely in Monganui, and I have reattached it with Gorilla Glue. One half day lost through heavy rain, but the temperatures remain in the mid 20’s each day. Bike and rider in top form.
Now round 100 kilometers to go. ENDS
1598 Waka crews at Horeke township in the Hokianga, at the Waitangi TreatyCommemorations closing.
1593 Waka at Horeke
1580 Mungungu Mission House (1839)
007 Kerikeri Mission Station Stone Store (1836)