Whakakaiwhara pā

Duder Regional Park

Or El Duderino, if you’re not into the whole brevity thing.

To view the full gallery of 26 pictures on imgur, click here.

Most, if not all, of Auckland’s Regional Parks, and many other parks as well, are working farms, if that means that there are sheep grazing there, and they occasionally shear them… but Duder Regional Park makes a point of letting visitors know that it is a model of sustainable farming.  The visitor can walk Duder Sustainable Trail to learn about this.  Farming is one of the most important sectors of the New Zealand economy, and the Department of Conservation seems to be consistently friendly to farmers.  To hear about the damage done to New Zealand‘s environment by chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and use of the land generally, you have to do some digging – New Zealand’s image as a green country is part of a carefully cultivated PR campaign, and you won’t hear much from the DOC or any other government body to tarnish that image.  Still, many regional parks were donated by old farm families who wish to see the land preserved, including the Duder family.  And farmers grant access to their land so that visitors can see many of the country’s sights, including East Cape, the easternmost point of the main islands of New Zealand, and it’s historic lighthouse.  Para-gliders are allowed to use launch sites on farm land throughout the country.

Duder Park is located on the Whakakaiwhara Peninsula in the Tamaki Strait, and offers stunning panoramic views that include the Brookby/Maraetai hills, the Hunua Ranges and Hauraki Gulf islands.

Pasture and gulf view at Duder Park
Pasture and gulf view at Duder Park

It was a hot, sunny day, and the pasture land was an especially bright green, as many of the pictures show.  The gulf views were even more beautiful.  But the star of the show for me was Whakakaiwhara pā.

A pā is a Māori fortified village or defensive settlement, often hills with palisades, defensive terraces, and/or trenches.  I’ve been told that war with the Māori gave the English early experience with trench warfare.  Often, I find it difficult to look at the remains of a pā and understand how the defenses worked.  But this is not the case with Whakakaiwhara pā.

Hauraki Gulf view, Whakakaiwhara pā on the right
Hauraki Gulf view, Whakakaiwhara pā on the right

Whakakaiwhara pā is a long thin peninsula stretching into the gulf.  Three sides are far too steep to climb while defended, and the 4th side is narrow, with a series of rolling hills that allow the defenders to take the high ground.  It is also a beautiful location, with access to the shores, shellfish and other food from the sea.

Whakakaiwhara pā
Whakakaiwhara pā

While at Duder Park I saw 2 different planes that appeared to be of  WW2 vintage.  The other was too far away to see well, or to get a good picture.

Vintage plane over Duder Park
Vintage plane over Duder Park

To view the full gallery of 26 pictures on imgur, click here.

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