You think you have explore enough exotic places, you haven’t seen the breathtaking scenery of Taranaki. Touted to be The Place to Visit in 2017, it is a must visit location if you think New Zealand is only about Lord of The Rings, churches and cows.
Taranaki is a beautiful region in northern New Zealand. The Māori people originally inhabited the land, also referred to as Tangata Whenua “people of the land”. Māori was a warrior like culture and under some accounts were known to eat their enemies. Similarly, to the Native Americans, most of these people’s land were taken by British colonisation. Tariana Turia, Associate Minister of Māori Affairs, compared the 17th-century land war to the Holocaust. Between the conflicts and foreign diseases, Māori people were almost wiped out. Now in the wake of the 21 century, the natives are reviving, acting as the 2nd largest ethnic group in New Zealand.
Two historical Māori heroes were Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kakahi. War veterans and esteemed chefs, these two lived in the heat of the invasion. Seeing their people killed and land taken, Te Whiti and Tohu organised a nonviolent resistance. As soldiers broke down faience and cleared villages for roads, the Māoris rebuilt. As farmland was confiscated, workers continued ploughing. Aggravated by the native’s efforts, over 1,000 men charged Te Whiti and Tohu’s village to find children singing and dancing at the entrance. Closest to centre, soldiers found the two chiefs with the rest of the village offering food and dance. Outraged many were arrested, and the leaders were imprisoned on another island. Their lives were a great testament inspiring other nonviolent resistance and modern art.
The centrepiece of this territory is Taranaki Mountain, giving it is named. “Tara” meaning mountain top and “naki” meaning shimmering. It is also called Egmont Mount named by British explorer James Cook. It is almost a perfectly symmetrical 2,519-meter stratovolcano, luring in geologists from all around the world. Eruptions are predicted to occur every 90 years, but that doesn’t stop hikers. For athletic people, the hike can take up to a day. It is ranked the second most dangerous in the country with a noted 83 deaths. Other recreational activities on Taranaki include Skiing. Stratford Mountain Club has a scenic slope on the eastern side.
Some Māori people believed the volcano used to live in the middle of the island with the rest of the volcanos. Legend has it that fell in love with Pihanga, a mountain beauty. Tongariro- another volcano- jealous, erupted in rage forcing Taranaki to flee westward. On his way, Taranaki carving out the Whanganui River and Ngaere swamp. To this day he laid, but some Māori still fear living between the two great enemies.
A 105 km road wrapping around the coast of Taranaki is a perfect place for adventurous surfers- cold water, black volcanic sand, and rocky beaches. Although not ideal conditions, with the many options and strong reef surf’s, travellers for all around come. One of the most famous beaches, Kumara Patch, is known for its left hand, fast breaking waves. Other favourite sites along the highway include cosy coffee shops, Cape Egmont Lighthouse, Puke Ariki Museum, Normanby Dam- a site where kayakers drop of dams- Taranaki thermal pools, and the Egmont National Park. Connected by the forest, hikers and enter the park from Sefton Track a 2-hour loop.
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Hello! I’m Josh and I’m a journalism and business student from the U.S. I grew up near Boston but now I’m living in Thailand. In the past I’ve been a ski instructor, waiter, and camp counselor. Now I’ve taken up the pen and want to develop my skills as a writer. I got hooked on traveling last December. I found the microscopic image of my town and realized how much of the earth I hadn’t seen. Since then I’ve had a fire in my belly to see and do as much as I can. My experience here in Thailand has been so great and now I’m eager to share and inspire others to get out, it’s worth it! You can keep in contact with me at LinkedIn, Upwork or Facebook.