Today we joined several foreign tourists on a cruise around Lake Taupo to view the Māori Rock Carvings.
We chose to cruise on the ‘Ernest Kemp’ out to see the Maori carvings on the cliffs at Mine Bay on the north west side of Lake Taupo. The boat was previously owned by the Kemp family who owned Kemp House (now known as Mission House) in Kerikeri in Northland until the house and contents were donated to The Historic Places Trust by Ernest Kemp in 1974. The house was built on land granted to Samuel Marsden by the powerful Nga Puhi chief,Hone Hika in 1819. Kemp House is the oldest surviving European building in New Zealand.
The only way to see the carvings is from the lake. The carvings although not old were created in the late 1970s by Matahi Whakataka-Brightwell and John Randall. The 10-metre-high carving is intended to protect Lake Taupo from volcanic activities underneath.
On a boat trip around the Western Bays he saw the cliffs at Mine Bay and recognised the opportunity to use them as a canvas for his work.
The main carving is over 10 metres high and took four summers to complete. The artwork is Matahi's gift to Taupo. He and four assistants took no payment other than small change donations from local bar patrons to cover the cost of the scaffolding.
The carvings have become an important cultural attraction for the region and a clear demonstration that traditional Maori knowledge and skills continue to be passed from generation to generation.
There was also another yacht there to view the carvings at the time and unfortunately for them they got very wet from a sudden shower of rain while we were tucked up in the warm. Returning back at 4pm it was only a hop step and jump to our overnight parking spot.