Matakohe Limestone Island Trip

13 ladies from WINGS and one man, enjoyed a private tour and talk by the Doc Ranger, Jono, on Thursday 21sth March. We all enjoyed the short boat-ride across from Onerahi wharf, ably skippered by Emma.

After a short introduction about life on the island, conservation projects and the island’s history, we set off on a walk and exploration. The sun shone and the views were beautiful. We visited a ‘Wetta’ hotel (like a bird-box but for Wettas), the old cement workings and the visitors centre where we had a rest and lunch break. A few relaxed while the more fit and able climbed the cliffs or rambled along the seashore.

All back on board for the slightly choppy return crossing at 1.30 p.m. during which we were treated to a few showers of spray.

Limestone Island, also known at Matakohe, was settled and farmed by Maori for hundreds of years. Evidence is still visible of their Pa and vegetable gardens. Since quarrying for lime to make mortar cement ceased in the mid-90’s, over 23,000 trees have been planted by volunteers and the island is now virtually predator-free providing a sheltered nursery for Kiwi.

Well worth a visit if you’ve never been!

Feedback from two of attendees:

An Island trip you MUST go to.

It was an excellent trip with the two rangers.

Especially being told all about limestone island and how it was named and how it was used for business for the Limestone rocks. And see the evidence-based on quarries and old and demolished buildings. Building where people lived.

Especially the brick buildings.

With fireplaces and kitchens.

How the Maoris used to live on it. And had a Maori Pa on it and ate shellfish.

Walking through the forest to get from one side of the island to the other side.

And hearing the birds. Especially the details following us.

A very excellent history lesson for old and young.

---- Jill Hakes

A lovely Autumn day spent on Limestone Island. We were met at Onerahi Wharf at 10:00 am by Jono and Emma, the Island Keepers and ferried across to the Island. Jono then took us on a very interesting, informative conducted tour of many historic sites. We then wandered through the very impressive ruins of the old limestone works. A visit well worth taking.

---- Jean Burnett

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