Waitatapia 862, the survey pipe and Papa Creek-Gorge Creek Saddle MF
28 October 2015
Papa Creek is tributary to the Waitatapia River and Gorge Creek runs into the Otaki1. The saddle between these two creeks is easily accessible on a day trip; its eastern side bears a couple of cliff-like sections (readily bypassed on the southern or Gorge Creek side) somewhat resembling the cliff on the Judd Ridge Track just below Tirotiro Knob.
From the Waitewaewae Track we took the spur rising steeply to the central bump on the ridge which the topographic map labels Waitatapia 862. We had no difficulty in threading our way up through the various kiekie and supplejack belts; above them we found plenty of markers and were clearly on a well used route.
The survey pipe stub presumably instrumental in measuring the 862m altitude is found about 200m further north atop the northernmost of the three bumps on the ridge. (See p. 16 for comments from LINZ.)
Beyond the pipe the ridge drops and there is some rough going through large windfalls. At about 760m altitude the ridge line swings east and a broad avenue strewn with mossy windfall remnants leads down to the saddle low-point at about 690m. From there the ridge continues east and climbs about 170m (the two 'cliffs' must be turned) before resuming its northward trend. The high point, 876m, soon arrives followed by a T junction with a major spur entering from Plateau Stream. On our trip, coming off 876 the leader blundered. The map suggested a brief N-eastish move before swinging back NW and the terrain seemed to support this. But we quickly found ourselves dropping very steeply along an almost razorback. Early consultation of the map would have told us we were below the height of the ridge we desired to be on but nearly-there-itis combined with rather wet conditions (forecast rain had at last arrived) left the leader reluctant to have a map stop and we dropped perhaps 50m in height before belatedly accepting the error and struggling back up to the bump top.
Our aim was to turn down to the Waitewaewae Sidle Track somewhere beyond the Papa Creek catchment. A small bump at about 700m suggested by the map and readily identified on the ground loomed up and from there we dropped N-westish, eventually losing the spur crest in the vicinity of a bifurcation at about 600m but still hitting the Track near 500m altitude, too high for any real bother from supplejack and kiekie.
Comments from LINZ
Some years back a couple of club trips accomplished a thorough exploration of the complete length of Gorge Creek. It seems the name arises not because the Creek hides a sinister gorge or two, it does not, but most probably because it joins the Otaki in its major gorge
Derrick Clark LINZ cartographer writes ... the survey mark is NE of point 862. Approximately 217m NE.
For various reasons survey marks are often not on the highest point. Leaves us with a problem, do we show height of survey mark or the highest point? The Waitatapia survey mark is at 858.3m
Topographic maps are not survey charts; generally we only show survey marks that have beacons1. Often there are multiple survey marks around a hill. We also run into naming issues where survey mark name differs from hill name. Sometimes the survey mark may have a name but the hill doesn't officially have one. If it's a hill name we show it in italics, if survey mark name only it will be shown in upright text.
Chris Kinzett, Technical Leader Topographic Information Group adds: From our records, it appears the survey mark was established about 1880 and used for early boundary definition surveys. The high point (862m ) was most likely measured by the Photogrammetric Branch of the Lands and Survey Dept while mapping the NZMS 260 series.
On another matter, many thanks for the updated information in the Plateau Stream and Waitewaewae areas. This has been incorporated into a new edition of Topo50 sheet BP33 which is at the printers now and will be available for purchase in early December. (See More Adventures in Mapland: Tracing Plateau Stream, The Tararua Tramper, August, 2015 Ed.) 1These are the black and white structures often seen gracing a trig point. Ed
- Party members
- Joan Basher, Colin Cook (leader and scribe), Tricia French, Wayne Perkins, Warwick Wright