To christen the inaugural Matariki public holiday, the ABTC ran a day-walks weekend led by Barbara Langridge
who had grown up in this area. There were 27 people who stayed at the Sandspit Holiday Park, plus five
who came for day trips only.|
We travelled up from Auckland in the afternoon
or early evening, and settled in to our allocated cabins at the holiday park.
At 8pm we gathered
in the communal kitchen dining room for our meeting. Barbara began with devotions about Matariki. The
stars of Matariki, the Maori new year, have different meanings signifying reflection hope, connection
with the environment, health and well being they also relate to food sources and rivers and oceans, rain,
wind and harvest wishes and aspirations for the coming year. And they also look back on the lives of
phobias or ancestors and the significance of their lives. As the stars have different names, the Bible
has names for God. So one of the names that's very well known for God is Jehovah-Jireh, our provider.
In this location we are provided with beaches, river histories, walking tracks, beautiful coastal scenery
to enjoy, cabins and accommodation to be warm and safe. And we look at God to provide our food and our
personal needs. He provided Abraham with a ram when about to sacrifice Isaac, He provided Moses with
an escape through the Red Sea. Today God has provided His Spirit to be with us wherever we are, our teacher
and our counsellor. Let's just thank God for His provision.
We discussed and confirmed plans for
our various groups’ walks for tomorrow, and had our supper afterwards.
took a group of 8 over Mt Tamahunga, setting out at 9:30am from Omaha Valley Rd, and finishing three
hours later at Rodney Rd just as a heavy shower came on. They enjoyed extensive views from the summit.
A group with Ruth leading did a walk in Tawharanui Regional Park, going to the Maori Bay before going
out to the Takatu lookout. It was a lovely walk, although the ridge tracks were exposed to the wind.
Five of us went to Kawau Island on the mail run cruise. They had a look inside Mansion House
before having lunch at the nearby cafe. This was followed by a walk to some viewpoints, but the high
tide prevented them from going out to the old coppermine that they could see.
A group of 7 led
by Lucy and John went to Scotts Landing Casnell Island, where they had a look at the historic homestead
and walked out to Casnell Island at low tide. They then went on to Scandrett Regional park to have a
look at the historic homestead and farm sheds. The climax of their day was the Brick Bay sculpture trail
where there were 70 sculptures to be seen, giving opportunities for us to pose for photos. By now there
were passing showers, often heavy, and the group were grateful for being able to borrow umbrellas.
Because of the layout of the accommodation, it was more practical for cabin groups to cook and eat their
own dinner, with the food provided from the organisers. The same applied for breakfasts, but we needed
to provide our own cereals.
We gathered in the communal kitchen dining room for our dessert and
meeting at 7pm. Barbara opened with the second of her Matariki devotions series on the names of God.
Elohim is the word for Creator. God possesses divine power, He is actively present, faithful and unchangeable.
He created the heavens and the earth, forming it to be inhabitable. Examples of aspects of creation that
demonstrate God’s power and faithfulness – the tides, day, night, sunrise, sunset, the beauty and design
of the birds. Barbara cited the beauty and design of a peacock. Jehovah Rohe is God my Shepherd. Just
as a shepherd cares for his sheep, Jesus cares for us. If we know Him we come to a place of comfort and
peace. He says My sheep hear His voice. Barbara told of her recovering from a knee operation, how people
have come and helped her with such things as shopping, this was God caring for her as a Shepherd. The
leaders of the day’s activities spoke about what had gone on.
The weather was much better today, after the heavy rain showers yesterday and overnight.
We had no rain at all today, with much sunny weather and hardly any wind.
A group of 13 led by
Paul and Ruth changed their plans from a walk from Te Arai to Pakiri to doing three shorter walks. For
the first of these they split up into two groups to walk the coast between Sandspit and Brick Bay, swapping
car keys halfway. There were very unusual rock formations along the beach. The group drove to Ti Point
to do the coastal walkway before climbing a hill to an extensive viewpoint for lunch. Afterwards they
went on to Goat Island Bay to do a clifftop walk.
Christine led a group of 12 on a walk through
the Tawharanui Regional Park. Before setting out she shared the reading from The Word For Today about
how God keeps the birds well fed, they don’t plant or harvest. We are far more valuable to Him, so He
provides all our needs. The group went to Takatu Point along Fishermans Track and South Coast Track.
This was at the end of the peninsula with a view out to Little Barrier Island, a great place to have
lunch before returning along the North Coast Track.
A small group led by Jocelyn and Barbara had
a look at Scott’s Landing, Casnell Island and Brick Bay Sculpture Trail, the same trip that John and
Lucy’s group did the day before.
After dinner in our cabins we gathered in the main kitchen dining
room at 7pm for our apple crumble dessert. The leaders of the groups each shared about their activities
for the day, as given above. Barbara concluded with the third of her series on the names of God. Jehovah
Shalom means the Lord is peace. Barbara spoke of Gideon who had an encounter with an angel calling him
to be a mighty warrior to save Israel from the Midianites. He asked for a sign that this was for real,
and he laid an offering on a rock. The angel consumed the sacrifice with fire, he called it the altar
of peace. Centuries before Jesus was born, Isaiah wrote that a child will be born and he will be called
Wonderful Counsellor and Prince of Peace. Jesus said My peace I give to you not as the world gives, let
your heart not be troubled, nor be afraid. Jehovah Rophe is the Lord who heals. Jesus healed many people
in his lifetime on earth, He still heals today. We can pray for healing.
Barbara handed out small
notes giving the names of God – Jehovah Jireh (provider), Elohim (Creator), Jehovah Rohe (shepherd),
Jehovah Shalom (peace), Jehovah Rophe (healer), Adonai (Lord and master), El Shaddai (God is enough,
the Mountain), Jehovah Nissi (my banner), Jehovah Qadesh (sanctifies), Jehovah Shammah (the Lord is there),
Jehovah Tsidkenu (our righteousness).
We had our breakfasts, packed up and vacated our cabins. Ten of us did a walk up
the hill behind the holiday park. This was a pathway leading to a steep driveway, going up to a viewpoint
overlooking the park and the Sandspit wharf with Tamahunga in the distance. There was a giant chair where
some of us posed for photos.
Two short walks set down for today – Warkworth town walk and the Parry
Kauri Park with the option of visiting the museum. There was no formal leadership for these, it was up
to the homegoing car loads to do these walks in their own time.
As we got into Warkworth we saw
a group of bikies, one of them wearing a gang patch Jesus The Lord The Redeemed Ps 107:2. This was a
gang that would promote love instead of hate, peace instead of violence, and spread the gospel of Jesus.
We began the town walk going along the Mahurangi River pathway past the weir and the wharf where the
historic sailboat Jane Gifford was moored. Then on to the Lucy Moore Memorial Park, and when we got to
the stormwater pond the track was closed due to construction works. We returned along the main street
passing places such as the artistic town clock, a shop displaying vintage items in the window, and the
little boy sitting on the edge of the verandah above the hospice shop.
The other walk was the
Perry Kauri Park. This bush reserve is home to some of NZ’s tallest and oldest native trees. Like all
bush reserves containing kauri trees, we had to go through a shoe cleaning station to prevent the spread
of kauri dieback. The trail of boardwalks and steps went through the bush, down into a gully, and up
to a lookout. We noticed some of the oldest trees had kicked the bucket, including a totara and a rimu.
There was the option to don a smilecover and visit the Warkworth Museum beside the kauri park.
The extensive historical displays included sailboats, a wood workshop, kids games, a hospital room, spinning
reel, a store with cash register, a pedal organ, washboards, and heaps more.This brought to a finish
an interesting weekend of exploring many of the beauties of the Kowhai Coast while enjoying the fellowship
of one another in Christ.