After a rewarding but long day presenting at Miria Marae Ruby and I decided it was time for a day off and a good ol' Sunday drive. The car loaded up with the necessary goods for a day trip, that is nuts, chocolate and togs we set off on our merry way. With no destination in mind, we followed our noses, deciding on heading West on the SH12. With a short stop in Rawene we soon stumbled upon Opononi, the home of Opo the dolphin. Now this dolphin has some pretty big celeb status in these parts, so much in fact he has a life size stone statue dedicated to him in prime position on the main drag. Good ol' Opo was a bottle nose dolphin who became famous throughout New Zealand during the Summer of 1955-56 for playing with the children in Opononi on the Hokianga Harbour. I was slightly more intrigued however by an abundance of John Wayne look-a-likes, that is cowboy hats, double denim and western boots milling about the Opononi Hotel. With a little research we soon realised we had hit Opononi on the one Sunday of the month that was Country Music day, what a treat! I definitely revisited some stellar child hood memories of sing alongs with dad and his geeetar when the local band lurched into 'The Wanderer'.
Next on our travels, the Hokianga, I need not describe the beauty of this place, it must be experienced for yourself.
We had just one more man to visit before our journey was complete. Situated in the Waipoua forest, this man is a pretty ancient dude, with a cheeky 1,250 years under his belt. Tane Mahuta, Lord of the forest, son of Ranginui and Papatuanuku, holds a presence that definitely calls for a moment of silence.