"E kore e mau ia koe, he wae kai pakiaka"
A foot accustomed to running over roots makes the speediest runner.
Old Maori saying.
Te Houtaewa - The Legend
|Absorbing the Maori legend and cultural significance of Cape Reinga|
|Compulsory handstands at the lighthouse|
90 mile beach....
|Midnight at Ahipara|
Maori legend has it that the headland of Cape Reinga - Te Rerenga Wairua - is the departing place for spirits on their homeward journey to Hawaiiki-a-nui, where they enter the underworld. Legend tells of a spirit trail along Ninety Mile Beach, starting at the southern end of the beach. The homebound spirit waits for an outgoing tide before starting the journey towards Cape Reinga. He then climbs the sacred 800-year-old Pohutukawa tree before slipping into the ocean. Maori souls follow Te Ara Wairua (the spirit's pathway) between the meeting place of the Pacific and Tasman oceans towards Three Kings Islands where they take one last look towards their land.
The History: why is it called "Ninety Mile Beach"? The going theory is that in the days when missionaries travelled on horse back, they calculated that an average horse could travel 30 miles each day before needing to be rested. The beach took three days to travel, and so the name was born. But the optimistic missionaries didn't take into account the slower speed for sand, so thinking they had travelled 90 miles they really had only covered 55 miles (88km). The additional 12km from the northern head to Cape Reinga conveniently makes up the full 100km.