A snap decision to follow a road to the sea for a lunch break brought us to this beautiful little cove, with turquoise waters lapping the sand and picnic bench – ripe for cheese and cracker action, and a snooze in the warm sun. Sweet!
A silver haired local beach bach owner came over to check out these strangers ;) And we got to nattering. Turns out his great grand father lived there and had come over from Scotland in the 1870’s. There were all sorts of fascinating tales told, but one was of him as a child, merrily digging up human skulls in the eroding sand near the edge of the beach – each with spike holes in the top. Blimey! Creepy stuff. But not as bone chilling as the next story… His great grand father had told of ‘the last great feast’ on the headland in front of us, that lasted for 3 weeks. He’d “heard the celebrations, and then the screams every night as the tribe took their victims from the cages, cooked and ate them! “… Well … I nearly bloody choked on my cheese and crackers I tell you!! Blimmin ‘ek what do you say when someone says that with sincerity? My mind was boggling as we walked on up the hill… Pretty gobsmacked. “Hello. Nice day isn’t it. Oh by the way, see that spot there? People used to eat each other there… Hmm.. I think it might rain later eh.”
I took these revelations with an extremely large pinch of salt of course, (!).
Some things the people you meet allude to can take us by surprise, to say the least! But in general the more of New Zealand we explore, the more we begin to glimpse some deep rooted feelings and very complex relationships between all the peoples of this beautiful country. It’s going to be a hard one to fully understand.