Three kilometers inland along the winding banks of the Ngauroro River sits the 102 year-old marae, Kohupātiki, Flounders in the Mist. The 10-crew of Hōkūle’a along with the young crew from the escort vessel Tranquility have settled into the whare nui and resting after a 48 hour bumpy ride north from the seaward capital of New Zealand, Wellington, to the coastal port of Napier. In a land called Rotopounamu, Green Springs, for the numerous springs that percolate upward through the rich soils, the orchard filled landscape that surrounds us at the marae is stunning to behold. Last night as golden hue filled the sky, a flock of tui and komako birds followed the setting sun and returned to their nest for an evening rest.
This coast is rich, acres of logs line the commercial harbor as the await shipment for processing to some distant port where they will undoubtedly be turned into framing timbers for new homes. Today is a workday for our escort vessel Tranquility. Cameron is going over the details for the new electronics install aboard Hōkūle’a, refueling, and cleaning. Hōkūle’a’s crew have the morning off and playing a round of touch rugby in the yard. In the afternoon they will be touring a river restoration project led by Uncle Tom McGuire, adjusting the tow bridle and lightening the water stores onboard the canoe, and closing with a late sail aboard Te Matau A Maui.
I will continue to coordinate our next move north to Gisborne, and the weather models have to show marginal conditions before I authorize the move to the next port up the chain. The crew is well fed and rested, excited to explore and learn about the lands of Rotopounamu, and to reaffirm old acquaintances and make new friends.