Sunday, May 6, 2012


In Maori legend, Taranaki is a mountain being that lived peacefully for many centuries in the centre of New Zealand's North Island, Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu.

Nearby stood Mount Pihanga. Covered in a cloak of deep green forest she presented a stunning sight and all the mountain gods were in love with her.

Taranaki dared to make advances to Pihanga and was reproached by Tongariro and a mighty battle ensued between them. The earth shook and the sky became dark as the mountains belched forth their anger. When the battle ended the lovely Pihanga stood close by Tongariro's side. Taranaki, wild with grief and jealously, angrily wrenched his roots from the ground and left the other mountains.

Weeping, he plunged towards the setting sun, gouging out a deep wide trench. When he reached the sea he turned north and stumbled up the coast. As he slept that night the Pouakai Ranges snared and trapped Taranaki in the place he now rests.

The next day a stream of clear water sprang from the side of Tongariro. It flowed down the deep scar Taranaki had left on his journey to the coast to form the Whanganui River.

There are those who say that Taranaki is silently brooding and will one day try to return inland again to fight Tongariro. Consequently many Maori were wary of living in the area between the mountains.

Thank heavens for Wikipedia where they tell the legend much better than I could, although there is nothing brooding about Taranaki.  He's a perfectly beautiful mountain, much more symetrical and lovely than Tongariro I think.

I've just returned from visiting my daughter who now lives with Mt Taranaki easily visible from her home.  What a thrill it was to wake as my daughter pulled the curtains and see the snow capped peak through the window.  And how lucky was I?  The first snow of the season fell the day after my arrival. 

Well, sort of lucky, I did find the weather a little chilly but threw on many layers of woolies and ventured out on Day 2 to walk further along her road where there are unobstructed views of the mountain.   I was hoping for cows or sheep in the foreground but not at all disappointed with that lovely mountain.

I didn't give myself much hope of capturing Tongariro and Ngauruhoe away to the east.  I don't know how far apart these mountains are from Mt Taranaki - 250 kms by road, less as the crow flies; still, a fair distance.  I was happy with this shot in the evening light of Tongariro.

Until my daughter spotted it out of Aiden's window early on the morning I left to return home and grabbed my camera before she came to wake me (good daughter that she is!)

Justine is an excellent tour guide.  She is also an excellent shopper so I just had to tell her the four items I had on my shopping list and a few hours later, mission accomplished.   I took a photo of one of New Plymouth's most visible works of art before we headed in to the shops.  It's a 45 metre high fibreglass and carbon fibre Wind Wand sculpture, the city's millennium project.  It was moving gently in the breeze, I'd love to see it dancing in a storm. 

 When we returned to the carpark the sun had moved across the sky to give us the perfect shot.

And, of course, best of all I got to spend time with my youngest grandson, Aiden.  He really is a delight.


  1. Hello Pauline,

    Your time away sounds perfect. Glad to see that the sculpture actually moves. Geraldton paid a huge amount for a similar sculpture and it hasn't even moved, not even in a storm. Aiden is certainly growing up, will have to show Lucy this photo.

    happy days.

  2. Beautiful mountains - beautiful boy. You've got the best of everything!

  3. high fibreglass and carbon fibre Wind Wand sculpture,: What is this thing again? I could tell it is too big a strain of line to be a normal kite.

    Bt the way, did you watch tonight's Closeup, they dump windsurf to kite surfing?May be your Traanki structure has something to do with it. LOL

  4. thanks for telling the story - learned something new today. your grandson is a cutie. And the pics are lovely.

  5. Your post made me feel homesick and I haven't been away two weeks yet. The photos of Mt Taranaki show its grandeur well but to capture Tongariro like that was amazing.

    I can't believe how Aiden has grown!


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