Tag Archives: Taupata

A visit to Makara Beach

In keeping with my recent posts of rugged coasts in my home region, here is another beach that is rugged, wild and beautiful.

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This Department of Conservation website gives more information about Makara and includes a map showing that the deep arcing Ohariu Bay and the beach are not too far from the most south western point of the North Island.

This is another west coast beach.   The very small settlement can be reached from either Johnsonville or Karori (both suburbs of Wellington). Either route is a narrow winding road with rural views, plenty of surrounding steep hills and roads that require careful attention and care.

After reaching flat, more open land the road suddenly offers a view of the bay. On the day we visited the day was crystal clear. The night before a southerly storm had raged but this beach is relatively sheltered from that wind and these high hills sheltered us from the icy wind that was still blowing.
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The surf was heavy but not as dramatic as it would have been on the South coast.
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The beach here is rocky.

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Banks of these rocks shelve steeply

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and the undertow is sharp and strong.

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This is never a safe swimming beach. The sound of these rocks being dragged back and forwards with each breaker was deafening but exhilarating.

A narrow walking track at the base of the high hills offers views back up the coast to the north and here, in the distance, you can see Mana Island and beyond it, the peak of Kapiti Island. The photo bombing bird is a Cormorant!

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When the predominant north-westerly wind howls this bay will take a pounding. Vegetation reflects the harsh, salt-laden, tough conditions. Flaxes, tufty grasses and Taupata do well but are stunted.

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Ocean currents bring huge logs and tree stumps on to the beach.
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Rock pools offer hidden delights but close supervision of children is needed at all times, given the strength of the sea.
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With so much natural energy via the wind in this remote landscape, there is a controversial wind farm now on the hills and from different parts of the settlement the blades of the turbines are visible. Up near this wind farm on the high hills are recreational options for the fit and energetic.

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I admire the local residents who live in such a remote and harsh environment. Their senses would be sharply alive all the time. I love visiting such wild spots with the exhilaration and beauty they offer but I much prefer a more moderate place in which to find my permanent home.

The Fallen Ones

In a rather optimistic move this afternoon I put on my jacket and hood and went out to get some photos of the fallen trees near my home. The wind was still blustery and the wind chill factor meant outdoors it was below freezing so my trip outside was very short lived.

This Silver Dollar Gum crashed to the ground across the road from our home around 8pm as the storm really took hold and somehow we heard the sound of chainsaws over the raucous din of the roaring wind. An emergency crew had been called as this large tree had fallen across the road blocking each lane.
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Sometime around 1am when I had finally fallen asleep more chain saw men turned up and cut up more of this tree perhaps after the gale had moved some of the bulk out on to the road again.
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This Taupata was trimmed by the City Council last year because it is on Reserve land. They had left it a rather vulnerable shape and that plus its age and the terrific winds saw it split off at the base. The remaining branch looks potentially rotten so this tree may well disappear completely. The Council might plant another native in its place on the Reserve.

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This is the really sad victim of the storm. It is the large Protea tree that I posted about here.
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It has been a Tui meal table for months now. I can sit and watch this tree and the activities of the Tuis.

commons.wikimedia.org

commons.wikimedia.org


But the rain that has fallen all week has saturated the ground and that plus the top heavy shape of this tree and the violent wind has caused it to break off at ground level. I doubt that it can be recovered from here.
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I note in this photo that I have captured a Tui in the tree and they are still visiting it to enjoy the nectar but it is a vastly different tree now and so sad to see.
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Come for a walk around the native plants in my garden

It is a really miserable day here with a howling cold southerly blowing and showers sweeping over at regular intervals. Winter is showing its hand.

But on a beautiful, warm late autumn afternoon over the weekend I wandered about my garden to photograph examples of the native trees or plants I enjoy. Some of the specimens were planted by the previous owner of the house who was a passionate gardener. Some have been planted by us and even more have been the result of birds dropping seeds into the garden and the natives have taken root and flourished.

I have attempted to find the identifying names for the plants but please let me know if I have named one incorrectly.

I hope you enjoy the stroll too.

Taupata Coprosma Repens

Taupata
Coprosma Repens

Native hebe

Native hebe


Kowhai "Dragon's gold" Sophora microphylla

Kowhai “Dragon’s gold”
Sophora microphylla

Whiteywood.  Mahoe Melicytus ramiflorus

Whiteywood. Mahoe
Melicytus ramiflorus

Cabbage tree. Te Kouka. Cordyline Australis

Cabbage tree. Te Kouka.
Cordyline Australis

5 fingers.  Pseudopanax laetus

5 fingers. Pseudopanax laetus

5 fingers

5 fingers

Lancewood. Pseudopanax crassifolius

Lancewood. Pseudopanax crassifolius

Griselinia littoralis "variegata"

Griselinia littoralis “variegata”

Puka Puka.  Meryta sinclairii

Puka Puka. Meryta sincalairii

puka puka seeds

puka puka seeds

Technically it is road

When we looked to purchase this home over 20 years ago, our lawyer alerted us to the fact that on one boundary there was strip of city council reserve land.

The city council maintained the reserve and someone had planted a selection of native trees on it. Contract changes some 10 years ago saw this maintenance cease and the grass grew to knee high length despite my repeated calls to the council. Their argument was that it was our problem.

Luckily a neighbour knew an official in the council and rang this chap on our behalf. This resulted in a couple of managers coming to view the reserve to determine who owned it and who was responsible for it.

To our surprise one of the managers was the head of the Roading department and he quickly put things to right by announcing that it is technically “road” and the council’s responsibility.

When the road had been marked out on the original plans it was to be a cul-de-sac and there was to be a bus turning area which had quickly become the reserve once the road was extended further up the hill.

Whoever planted the native trees chose two Golden Totara, a Kowhai, a Kauri, a Karaka, some Taupatas and a Kahikatea. They were all planted with a lot of space between them.

Several Kauri have failed despite our care and concern but this one is looking happier.

The Golden Totara need to be trimmed to maintain visibility on the intersection.

The Kowhai is looking aged and gnarly but survives and flowers well.

Kowhai

The Karaka has fruited heavily this year but lacks any vigour and height and the Kahitakea is thriving. It is gaining height (it is now taller than our two storey house) it is a lovely shape and now has an epiphyte clinging to it as it would in the bush.

Kahikatea

Epiphyte on Kahikatea tree

The Taupatas are huge and need trimming at times. The tougher the conditions the better they like it. And they seed prolifically.

I wonder who decided way back in the 1970s that planting giant native trees on a section of “road” reserve in an urban area was a wise thing? I fear for the stately, beautiful Kahikatea as it can attain great height.

Likewise the Kauri, although they grow very slowly and struggle in our clay soils. Kauri like wet feet and being surrounded by other trees as they grow.

For now I really enjoy the little patch of native specimens on our boundary but I do worry about the future as they grow ever taller.
I hope something sustainable will be the plan for the future.