Taheke River

Alongside Taheke Hotel was a river, one that led all the way to the Hokianga harbour and out to the wide open ocean and beyond the horizon. By the time of this photo it had silted up, and willows taken over.

Yet it had been for all human settlers, for centuries, a major highway. Roads, including bridges changed it’s significance within a few decades. The town of Taheke all but died. There was a two room school, a shop, the pub, a few private houses. There was however, in the surrounding hinterland a large population of Maori.

Here are four of them, they’ve been to my parent’s pub and are heading home, carrying on board a keg of beer. (Click on photo to enlarge).

The waka in this photo has been preserved now, on display in one of the Hokianga towns, Opononi, or Rawene I think it is. I’ve only recently found out about this and I’m overdue for a Hokianga trip so I haven’t seen it with my own eyes but I believe it to be true.

The character on the left is enjoying those wonderful slender willow tendrils. I still want to photograph them, especially trailing in the water when it is in flood. I’ve pursued the same look in seaweed, the way the swell moves it around and the leaves constantly rearrange themselves into positions that you just know will be mathematically perfect every time. It’s the sort of thing that gives me a thrill.

There was an abundance of whitebait in the river, 4 gallon tins with number 8 wire handles, filled to maximum. As the whitebait season is just opening now I thought that I would include a whitebait photograph that I took a couple of years ago. I went whitebaiting with a friend in Southland and when I saw these in the bottom of a bucket with the sun shining in, I put this picture together. I seem to like those triangles of light coming in from the side.

I liked a friend’s description “ the circle of life”.