Te Whare Taonga o Kororareka

Island Songs – #137

Island Songs – #137

Otehei Bay’s wharf  – it’s on many a picture and postcard. Iconic? Arguably so. Ironic? Maybe. A witness to change? Definitely. Constructing the wharf was one of the first tasks of a private company, registered 14th October 1926, the Zane Grey Sporting Club Ltd. Its objects were ” To carry on in the Dominion of New Zealand  the trade or business of deep sea fishing, game shooting, ship owners, launch owners, accommodation, carriers, etc., and general incidental.”  The club’s visitors book is on display at Russell Museum. It includes the signatures of many visiting fishermen and women, including Zane Grey’s on his second visit, January 28th 1927. On his first visit Grey camped at Otehei and wrote about it in his Tales of the Angler’s Eldorado.“…We worked all day at this pleasant and never-wearying task of making a habitation in the wilderness. Never am I happier than when so engaged. This nomad life is in the blood of all of us, though many comfort-loving people do not know it. After dinner we climbed the high hill on our side… Seven thousand miles from California! What a long way to come, to camp out and to fish, and to invite my soul in strange environment…Then I heard an exquisite bird song…They sang until after dark; and in the gray dawn, at four o’clock they awoke me from sound slumber. I knew then I had found a name for this strange new camp. Camp of the Larks!” What birds, I wonder, would he hear singing if he could camp there today?

Source: http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz : Evening Post, Volume CXII, Issue 98, 22 October 1926, Page 11