Mt Crawford/Matai-Moana¹–Shelly Bay–Piki ki Maupuia² Walkway, E
21 February 2021
The No. 24 Miramar Heights bus navigated dense traffic boosted by thousands gathering at Kilbirnie Park for the Round-the-Bays Run, then dropped us at the former Wellington Prison. The 1835 United Tribes flag fluttered nearby. Murray Robinson was working in the prison garden, now managed by Miramar Community Gardens, so we were able to have a conducted tour, see some fine stone-work and a huge wooden pig carved from a tree trunk. A kererū ‘crash-landed’ into a nearby tree and later a kārearea/New Zealand falcon buzzed the area.
When Hera and Twyla arrived after being in a traffic jam in Mt Victoria Tunnel for half an hour, we climbed to the trig on Mt Crawford/Matai-Moana¹ 163 m, looking down on 1880s’-era Fort Ballance and over the harbour to the surrounding hills. Walking down the WW2 road, we chose to lunch beneath a big pōhutukawa on an extensive flat area once the site of a Prison Officer Cadet Training School and a filming location. Continuing down the zig-zag road on pine- and bush-clad slopes, we inspected the interior of one of ten WW2 munitions bunkers, marveling at the doubled blast-control walls and the images on them. Soon we arrived on Shelly Bay Rd and chatted with a member of the Mau Whenua group seeking to protect the coastal land from a housing development.
Seeing people fishing off the rocks, several pest-animal trap boxes and wind-surfers coping with the blustery nor’wester made the walk south along Shelly Bay Rd in bright sun full of interest. Then came our final climb – up Piki ki Maupuia ² Walkway, which traverses regenerating native forest, sometimes up steps but mostly on zigzags. Tiny ‘Hobbiton’ houses and images, some views, the call of a pīwakawaka/fantail and the smell of the bush were a contrast to the road-side walk. Finally, we walked south along the walkway beneath some Maupuia ² houses to sit on a bench to chat and eat scroggin, then catch a No. 24 bus from Akaroa Drive back to the city. ( All photos: Alan Benge)
- Party members
- Diana Barnes, Alan Benge, Hera Cook + Twyla, Michele Dickson, Chris Horne (leader and scribe), Peter Shanahan, Marris Weight, Reece Woollen.