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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 5 (September 1, 1929)

The Pass and the Rapids

The Pass and the Rapids.

A little way above the Aniwhaniwha the Waikato Valley becomes a gorge. Igneous rocks, torn and fused and fashioned in a multitude of curious forms, rise all around, become mountains. The cliff road is regularly marked for chains as with the scratches of some giant fingers—to the imaginative aboriginal perchance the talon-marks of the grim ogress Kurangaituku, who once haunted these parts. The scratches, however, are but the marks of the picks of the nimble co-operative navvies who cut out this rocky pass. In some of the wilder places an outer protecting wall several feet high has been built up of rough blocks of stone, on the verge of the precipice, the Waikato far below.

The noise of many waters is heard again, and presently we see more cataracts and rapids. These are the Haere-huka and Whakaheke. At the Whakaheke, about a mile below Orakei-Korako, in the middle of the river are two small islands, exquisitely green; they are covered with small trees and flax. These spray-bathed islets are apparently old-time slips from the steep hillsides above, which have partly dammed up the river, and so formed the rapids. On the larger of the islets, called Te Rewarewa, there was formerly a fortified pa, to which the people resorted for refuge in war time. It must have been sore straits that compelled them to cross those foaming waters.