Hemi Matenga Traverse M
Wednesday 30 August 2023
Seven of us met at Tui Grove in Waikanae at 0845 to relocate two cars at the start of the forestry track at the top of Hadfield Road, Peka Peka.
There we recognised two other cars belonging to Bill Allcock et al, who were also exploring the area around Field, to the north east of the Hemi Matenga track.
We set off at a sensible pace and after about 90 minutes crested the ridgeline to find a great spot, with views from Wellington and Kāpiti Island to Whanganui. Dear Leader handed out some specially amended Anzac Biscuits to the troops to keep them happy.
We then moved on to the second set of aerials (spotting a large mob of goats as we went) where we met up with Bill, Janette, Peter Morton and Colin. After pleasantries were exchanged and a co-mingled group photo was taken, we were off back to the main ridgeline to head south to the Hemi Matenga Track. There was a chilly wind blowing but the sun shone and our energy levels were high, mainly due to the Anzac Biscuits, reinforced with extra sugar, butter, golden syrup and coconut added in unmeasured quantities to the ever-reliable Edmonds Cookbook recipe (36th edition, 1994, page 33).
The entry point into the native bush was easily located despite the approach footpad being well overgrown with gorse and pampas. Good progress was made along the ridgeline. After a 15-minute lunch stop, organized precisely for noon (on a mossy bump with no views but a hint of sunshine dappling the track), we set off.
No more than 10 minutes later we heard the noisy EM mob being wrangled by Marg Pearce. They had just had lunch, which also included Anzac Biscuits (but without the aforementioned addition of extra sugar, butter, golden syrup and coconut, omitted on spurious health grounds).
Both groups co-mingled for yet another group photo, and comparisons were made between the two different batches of Anzac Biscuits. Each group voted theirs the winner.
Our group led off first, but were soon caught after Dear Leader took a slightly wrong turn while trying to identify the junction for the Te Au track … oops … causing some hilarity among Marg’s mob. Never mind, off we raced, and somehow also missed the footpad we were looking for that was to take us down a trapping line to Tui Cres. Oops again.
Instead, we ended up at the lookout seat at the top of Hemi Matenga, where we relaxed with the last of the Anzac Biscuits and any left-over snacks.
Then someone remembered a long-since-used track down to Tui Grove from this lookout. After some thrashing around, a ‘reasonable’ footpad was allegedly found. Following a group discussion, it was agreed that we should go off-piste, as it was only 1:30.
The track started nicely (they usually do) but after about 10 metres (!) things started to get interesting. Think very steep, loose scree and rotten trees that did not offer any decent hand-holds.
After about an hour of sliding and hanging on, we could make out a stream bed. We knew exactly where we were, but in between us and the lower Parata Track were some thick patches of supplejack, which, thankfully, appeared worse than they actually were. After an easy wander beside the stream for about 200 metres we did a climbing sidle up to the Parata Track, arriving precisely at the expected exit point. Legends!
20 minutes later we were at the cars, ready to relocate to Hadfield Road to collect the other vehicles.
Thanks to Quentin Smith for permission to access the masts through his forestry block.
So: Six hours of fun, meeting up with the SF and EM trippers, a series of telecommunication masts, an unexpected mob (of goats, not the two other TTC groups), the odd missed turn-off, a mix of forestry tracks, unofficial footpads, DOC tracks and a bit of very steep off-piste tramping and stream travel.
- Party members
- Chris Munn (casual leader and scribe), Carolyn Jenkins, Andy Leslie, Jane-Pyar Mautner, Peggy Munn, Peter Panettieri, Helena Weller-Chew