NZ4WD - - Contents - Story and photos by Mur­ray Tay­lor

This year’s Ran­gi­tikei Sta­tion to Sta­tion 4WD Trek was a one-day event held on Satur­day March 4 to raise funds for the Ran­gi­tikei Com­mu­nity Multi-Sport Turf project sup­port­ing Nga Tawa Dioce­san School. My week­end started on Fri­day with a trip west to Vine­gar Hill Do­main and the DOC camp­site on the banks of the Ran­gi­tikei River. It’s a great spot, and comes com­plete with large flood warn­ing signs and elec­tronic gear in place for the safety of all who use it. Next morn­ing I woke to the birds call­ing and a tinge of red in the sky. As the old say­ing goes, ‘Red sky in the morn­ing, shep­herd’s warn­ing,’ and sure enough, the grey clouds were gath­er­ing as I packed up camp and headed to the reg­is­tra­tion and start point of the Sta­tion to Sta­tion event. With signs up and peo­ple to di­rect one as to park­ing, along with pa­per­work to be com­pleted, and how to get to morn­ing tea on the front lawn, the or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee was very much ready as ve­hi­cles started ar­riv­ing in groups or on their own, one even on a re­cov­ery truck (al­ready? Ed)! Time for the brief­ing rolled around real quick, so once ev­ery­one had com­pleted reg­is­tra­tion, col­lected lunch and we had all lis­tened to Alex and Mark tell us about the day ahead, one and all headed back to their ve­hi­cles to start the morn­ing’s event.. With the old Range Rover (green) in the lead the rest of the party trailed along be­hind, and after a very short sec­tion of tarseal we turned hard right into our first prop­erty of the day. This was fol­lowed by a gen­tle climb up a very good farm track with a bit of dust around and great views up and down the val­ley as we climbed higher. What goes up al­ways even­tu­ally comes down, of course, and be­fore long we were trav­el­ling down­hill with a fence line on one side, be­fore drop­ping down to a small creek. It was along this sec­tion that we found the only bit of real mud for the day in the wa­ter ta­ble – three very short sec­tions all on cor­ners – be­fore a nar­row sec­tion of track along­side a cou­ple of good sized trees. Fur­ther on was a typ­i­cal farm bridge set in amongst a group of trees, one way and def­i­nitely a sin­gle ve­hi­cle at a time. Once over the bridge it was all uphill be­fore head­ing across coun­try, through pad­docks with stock and in some cases lots of this­tles be­fore the sec­tion ended as we headed along Agnews Road, with the odd drop of rain on the wind­screen. The pre­cip­i­ta­tion was noth­ing se­ri­ous, just enough to keep the dust down as we headed along pub­lic gravel roads to­wards Te Kumu Wool­shed and our lunch stop; not where it was orig­i­nally in­tended, but due to the rain we had, the crew de­cided to break for lunch at Te Kumu while the on­wards part of the truck was in­spected. For­tu­nately dur­ing lunch the weather im­proved for the bet­ter with the rain stop­ping al­to­gether and the sun com­ing out. In fact, with the breeze it all dried out rather quickly.

Lunch over it was back into the trucks as we headed to­wards Tau­parae Trig at 813 me­tres (2670ft) above sea level to take in the great views of the sur­round­ing area. Along the way we passed Lake Te Kumu, put in in 2000 and re­built again in 2005 after be­ing lost to flood­ing in 2004, home to both Teal and Scorp along with great duck shoot­ing. We also crossed the bot­tom of the Tau­parae pad­dock com­pris­ing 453 hectares (1117 acres) in one pad­dock be­fore the climb to Tau­parae Trig, and a break to take in the view. This was also a time to talk with oth­ers on the trek as we waited for the tail to catch up as it was a one way track to the top of the hill. The day was go­ing fast as we left Tau­parae Trig and headed maybe south along the ridge tops still at around 600m in el­e­va­tion, past Te Namu be­fore head­ing down into the Man­ga­papa River val­ley, which we trav­elled along­side of be­fore head­ing up Hukanui Stream. We crossed the stream be­fore the last and best climb of the day, la­belled on our run­ning sheet notes as Lake Hill, “where many a shep­herd has come to grief.” There was an easy way, but yes it was a great lit­tle climb be­ing some 100m ver­ti­cal, with a very rough sur­face, the ideal way to fin­ish a great day’s out­ing. At the top we stopped for a few pics and spot­ted a sin­gle ve­hi­cle have a cou­ple at­tempts at one sec­tion in the climb, but oth­er­wise it was a slow climb for the rest be­fore re­turn­ing on the Otairi Sta­tion’s main track and down Long Gully to the his­toric build­ing of Otairi Sta­tion, the BBQ and re­fresh­ments be­ing set up out­side the Shear­ers Quar­ter build­ings, along with camp­ing for any wish­ing to stay the night in the Dog Train­ing pad­dock just be­hind. The ham­burger was just the item to fin­ish the day along with a chat to those about. A small speech from Alex ,and the chair­man of Nga Tawa school thank­ing all those who at­tended and their sup­port for the event. To the or­gan­is­ers Alex, Fi and all the oth­ers in­volved, thank you, to the spon­sors for their sup­port and es­pe­cially to those land own­ers who al­lowed us all to travel over their land. It is a great priv­i­lege, one as I write this I think about, re­mem­ber­ing all the great coun­try­side I saw and the tracks we trav­elled on. Thank for al­low­ing us into your coun­try.

Sin­gle lane farm bridge, set amongst the trees.

Morn­ing tea, reg­is­tra­tion and in­tro­duc­tion / briefing on our hosts front lawn...

All lined up wait­ing to leave the as­sem­ble point...

The vast­ness of our New Zealand coun­try side, that which is not seen from the high­ways...

Lunch is over and we start to spread out along the track, head­ing fur­ther into the farm land.

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