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Saturday, January 16, 2016

Wet day discoveries

After visiting family in Tauranga we decided to go on to Ohope for two nights. We stayed in a lovely cottage, Moanarua, run by a delightful Maori couple.

Unfortunately the one full day we had in Ohope was forecast for torrential rain all day - and the forecast was correct! But our hosts had some good ideas for exploring the area. By following their suggestions we discovered things we certainly wouldn't have considered if the weather had been better. (Note to self: Sometimes what seems "bad" turns out to be "good".)

We drove to Opotiki to see the Museum. Sounds unusual to have a small town museum worth driving a distance to see. But it was certainly surprising and well worth the trip. We most enjoyed the third floor where there are eight "rooms" set up to show life for the early settlers. Along the street beside the museum are shops that are museums in themselves - and require someone from the main museum to give you a guided tour. We didn't do this but I'm sure it would be very interesting.

On the way back we visited a Tuhoe "Green building" - i.e. a building that is completely self-sustaining and has won awards under a green building code. This was a real highlight. It is a truly amazing place. Check out the link here. Even looking at the website doesn't do justice to what you see when you look around. We had coffee at the cafe first and while we were sitting there a young Maori man stopped to chat and ask if we'd like him to show us around. It was a lovely personal tour and we were taken to places we probably wouldn't have gone on our own. The whole building really comprises the Tuhoe central offices for all their tribal enterprises. It includes many meeting rooms for groups and a huge indoor gathering room as well as an outdoor amphitheatre. I'm inspired by the Tuhoe people (and their use of their Treaty settlement as part of the funding for this building). Do check out the website as these two pictures really don't give any idea of the whole place.
On our final morning the weather was clear and beautiful so we did get an early morning Ohope beach walk!