We drive a long and winding road to make our way to the small town, a place I’m told is a must see by my friend Winnie back home. When we finally crest the hill that leads into the village, we see a peaceful harbour filled with boats and a quaint French looking village at along the shore. While all appears peaceful today, the area was quite violent back in 1832 and lead to one of the most important events in New Zealand history. The Captain of the British ship Elizabeth, John Stewart, helped the North Island Ngāti Toa chief, Te Rauparaha, to capture the local Ngai Tahu chief, Te Maiharanui, his wife Te Whe and his young daughter, Roi Mata. The settlement of Takapuneke was sacked. Concern over the complicity of John Stewart, along with other lawlessness among Europeans in New Zealand, led to the appointment of an official British Resident James Busby to New Zealand in (1832). This was the first step in the British involvement that led to the Treaty of Waitangi.
While I take very few photographs of this part of the journey, it is still amazingly beautiful. All along the way are endless perfect beaches and sunny blue skies, quite the opposite of what we were experiencing down in the bottom of the south. We eventually wind our way along the ridges to Lyttleton, the smaller of the two volcanoes.
Just over the final pass we get our first view of Christchurch. This city is massive; it seems to stretch on and on forever. It’s an amazing shock to the system after all the farmland along the way, with almost no people anywhere. I can immediately tell I don’t want to spend time here and am somewhat thankful we didn’t make it to sleep there the night before. It takes us quite a while to make our way through the traffic lights and out the other side of the city after a quick petrol stop.
Our next journey is somewhat inland, with a peak here and there of the ocean, but there’s virtually no stopping all the way in to Kaikoura. We make it there just after the sun sets and get a general idea of the beauty of the place before darkness takes over and we find our hostel. We take a walk to the grocery store to get our last supply of food for the night and lunch the next day. I can’t believe my dad will only have one more day here and in two days I’ll be heading back to school. It’s gone by incredibly quickly and I want nothing more than to continue the experience. I joke with my dad that he doesn’t really need to go back and neither do I, we can just tramp around the north island next. This is of course not a real possibility, but we enjoy our last bits of time in NZ by soaking up the heat of the spa tub they have at the hostel. This one is quite nice in the sense that it’s like a little swimming pool and we have the whole outdoors to ourselves, but, as seems to be the Kiwi way, the water is only just at body temperature, which is not quite warm enough to massage away the aches of sitting in a car all day. We finally muster the courage to run through the cold back to our room before making dinner.