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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 9 (January 1, 1934)

Lake Horowhenua's Islets

Lake Horowhenua's Islets.

The citizens of Levin town are endeavouring to popularise their pretty watersheet, Lake Horowhenua, as a pleasuring place. Certainly it is a lake worth exploring, this shallow, glimmering plate of quiet water, for its Maori life and its historic islets. It is a pleasant place for a boating cruise, especially if there should be someone with you who knows a little of Horowhenua's past. There are five artificial islands, but they are now tangles of raupo, flax and shrubs; it is not easy to detect signs of man's hands in their making. One or two are mere dots of flax clumps, with here and there an ancient palisade post. They were built in the shallow waters by the Muaupoko tribe more than a century ago, as places of refuge; but the all-conquering Rauparaha and his musketeers soon captured them all. Most of them lie near the south end of the lake, where the Hokio stream flows out to the sea. They look like little bush-parks floating on the calm water.

Karapu, the largest built-up island, is near the mainland at the northern end of the lake. There, too, is the only island that is not artificial, Namu-iti. The old settlers used to call it “Rauparaha's Stockyard.” A sinister name! Rau' kept his captives there, drawing on them for army rations as required. The pakehas, of course, did not witness that process, but they heard enough about it from the old warriors.