The island that became Miramar Peninsula E
Sunday 10 April 2022
Five of us reached Seatoun Park terminus by no. 2 Seatoun bus - seven by car. Everyone received a map showing our route. At Churchill Park we read the interpretation panel about the area's history and its significance to tangata whenua as Kupe's first landing place, and saw the impressive carved pou whenua and air intakes from TEV Wahine which sank nearby on 10.4.1968. Kirikiritatangi, the name of Seatoun Beach, reflects the rattling sound of beach gravel as waves retreat.
We climbed Beere Haven Steps to Sinclair ‘Street’, merely a footpath through bush to Newport Tce and Exeter ‘Street’ - a zigzag with a fine view of the sea and suburb - and walked north along Seatoun Heights Rd to the driveway serving nos. 125/131 and the impressive flight of 134 steps down to Townsend Rd. The steps served as seats for our scroggin stop before we descended from no. 54 to Ashleigh Crescent and to Para St, Miramar. ‘Para’ was the name of the lagoon, later called Burnham Water, long since drained to enable the land to be used for the development of Miramar.
At Booth St, the end of Rex St, we came to Kairangi Village, a recent low-rise housing development. Its name commemorates Te Motu Kairangi, an island in Wellington harbour at the time of first human arrival that became a peninsula in the fifteenth century as a result of seismic uplift and infilling of the surrounding lagoon. In the nineteenth century, it was named Miramar (Spanish for ‘behold the sea’ or ‘sea view’) Peninsula by the first settler in the area, James Coutts Crawford.
We climbed the steps to Maupuia Rd, then walked along the footpath serving houses above Akaroa Drive. From the end of Aranui St we descended the zigzag to Shelly Bay Rd to have lunch on a grassed area on the east side of Evans Bay. We then saw the entrances to two tunnels beside the road – one of them dug in 1849 to drain Para / Burnham Water.
During our walk along the new footpath north of Cobham Drive, we read the panels placed by Wellington Sculpture Trust beside the Meridian Energy wind sculptures, saw WCC's plantings of native species and the site of the cooling-water outlet from the Evans Bay Power Station (1924-1968). Before the Hao Whenua earthquake, a channel – Te Awa a Taia - between Evans and Lyall bays - was navigable by waka. The massive uplift closed the channel.
From Hataitai Beach, beyond Evans Bay Marina, we climbed Rātā Road Reserve, then near the end of Rātā Rd climbed 26 steps to Mataī Rd and descended Waitoa Rd to Hataitai's Crazy Rabbit Cafē. We sat outdoors in the sun chatting while enjoying kai and cuppas.
Eight people caught a no. 2 bus homewards. The two Peters and Chris continued via Arcus Way, Huia Rd, Hataitai Rd, Rakau Rd to Hapua St then on the Town Belt to climb to Matairangi / Mt Victoria Trig, 196 m, and descend to Palliser Rd. Our final stage was via St Gerard's Walkway, lower McFarlane St, Roxburgh St, Prince Street's 118 steps to Oriental Pde, the boat harbour, Waitangi Park and Blair St to Courtenay Place.
Peter Shanahan recorded the following statistics for the trio who walked from Seatoun to Courtenay Place: Time 5.33 hours; distance 13.87 km; altitude gain 394 m.
- Party members
- (leader and scribe).Diana Barnes, Elizabeth Bridge, Bob Cijffers, Julia Fraser, Chris Horne (scribe), George Lake, Peter Shanahan, Karun Shenoy, Peter Tunnicliff, Susan Tunnicliff, Claire Vincent, Marris Weight