Nineteen members met at the corner of Onemana Road and SH25 at 9.30 a.m. for this excursion. After introductory
comments, we journeyed 3 km down Taungatara Road (in Tairua Forest) to the start of the Luck At Last
track. It was an easy one-hour walk along the Wharekawa River to the battery site, passing the "Soap
Box", "Bus Stop" and a 2006 Flood Level Indicator on the way. The forest company (Carter Holt) have gone
to considerable trouble to erect historic information panels and signage along the way. There were pleasant
views of the river at various points.|
The battery site is a lovely setting. It contains a row
of six berdans, pelton wheel, cyanite ponds, and various other impressive relics. Several remained at
the site while the others visited the adits and tunnels to the north on slightly more difficult, steeper
and less-formed tracks. The mine yielded 13,136oz of gold between 1899 and 1901, valued then at £17,666
(today approximately $NZ2.5m), not enough to significantly recompense its investors.
At the battery
we enjoyed a late lunch on three-sided seating. Phillip Donnell led a reflection based on the words of
Jesus in Mark 8:36-37, highlighting the truths that we all have a soul, it is more valuable that everything
else in the universe (an appropriate insight at the location of a gold mine!), a soul can be lost but
it can also be saved through faith in Jesus. He played Jim Reeves singing "I'd rather have Jesus than
silver or gold..."
We then ambled back to our vehicles and headed for Tairua. While several took
advantage of the coffee and ice cream purveyors, the remainder climbed to the summit of Paku (192m) for
magnificent views of Pauanui, Tairua Harbour, Slipper Island, the Alderman Islands, and the coastline
After a rendezvous back at Tairua, one car left to return to Auckland, while the other
vehicles headed for Ian and Christine Marshall's lovely shared property at Opoutere for a BBQ meal. The
Tauranga contingent departed for home about 8.30 p.m.
Many thanks to Phillip Donnell for leading
the hikes, and to Paul Campbell for his assistance, especially with arranging transport. Also to Ian
and Christine Marshall for their kind hospitality.