The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 9 (January 1, 1930)
The Heart of the North
The Heart of the North.
There was much to be seen this day (Wednesday, 20th November), around the Kaikohe-Waimate country, the pleasant lands of Taiamai. The principal trip of the morning was to the Ngawha hot springs, between Kaikohe and Ohaeawai. Here there are boiling springs, warm pools, boiling mud pools and most of the thermal phenomena of Rotorua. A company is now busy there making preparations to develop the working of cinnabar, in which some of these springs abound.
An unfortunate happening here, a tragically sudden end to a useful life, was the death from heart disease of Mr. W. M. Passmore, an Auckland business man. He collapsed and died on the morning's excursion to Ngawha; the exertion of the walk to and from the cars was too much for his weakened heart. His friends of the Commerce Train attended at the railway station next morning for a reverent and regretful farewell to the remains of a much-liked member of the touring party.
In the afternoon there was a quiet visit to the annual Agricultural and Pastoral Show at Waimate North. This was the forty-second annual show. As the visitors approached in cars driven by Kaikohe settlers, they were impressed by the richness of the pastures and the charm of the old English mission settlement. They appreciated, too, the quality of the exhibits, which demonstrated well the resources of this district of good soil and mild climate.
The Kopa Maori.
(Rly. Publicity photo.)
Top: When the pie was opened. Centre: Strange food—fingers before forks. Below: Maori cooking.
“An Eden For The Tired And The Retired.”
(Rly. Publicity photo.)
Top: Famous Keri Keri, scene of the first wooden and brick buildings in New Zealand. Centre: Whangaroa Harbour, the glory of the east coast of New Zealand's Northland. Below: Commerce Train party entertained by residents at Willow Bay, Whangaroa.
Here, at Waimate, amidst rural scenes of a most satisfying comfort and charm, where cattle and sheep, and grain, grass, and fruit all thrive and flourish exceedingly, the travellers saw many reminders of the heroic era in pioneering. The missionary came inland here before the trader or soldier. The prettiest and most productive parts are those pioneered by the mission families. Waimate, Pakaraka, and surrounding places bear strong impress of the hands of the early apostles of the Churches—the Williams brothers, Selwyn, Davis, Burrows, and their contemporaries and successors. Shingle-roofed churches of antique design, stoutly built of heart of kauri and totara, stand amidst lordly groves of oaks and elms; around their doors the graves of the white pioneers and Maori warrior chiefs.
Waimate churchyard in particular is a place to take the eye and the fancy. The mission station dates back to the year 1830; its centenary is to be celebrated on this 12th of January by the erection of a lych-gate at the churchyard and by placing a tablet in the interior of the church in commemoration of the Rev. Samuel Marsden and the early missionaries. Here at Waimate is the oldest oaktree in New Zealand; it was originally grown from an English acorn planted at Paihia and transplanted to this mission farm in 1831.
In the afternoon, going from Waimate to Okaihau Station, the travellers’ cars skirted Lake Omapere, notable because it is the largest of the very few sheets of fresh water north of Auckland. Omapere is shallow; it is two and three-quarter miles in length and two miles in width; the area 2,880 acres; its surface is 750ft. above sea-level. It is proposed to generate electrical power for the district at the swift outlet, the Rere-a-tiki, which is the source of the Utakura River, flowing into Hokianga Harbour.