Ram­bling in the Pa­pamoa Hills

Walking New Zealand - - New Zealand Walks -

be­tween the Mataatua and Te Arawa waka ar­eas. From the ear­li­est time of Maori set­tle­ment, Pa­pamoa Hill has been of great strate­gic im­por­tance be­cause of its com­mand­ing po­si­tion, mak­ing it pos­si­ble to con­trol the south­ern ac­cess to Tau­ranga Har­bour and the coastal strip down to Maketu.

Walk­ing at a gen­tle pace up the in­cline through pine for­est, al­lows me to get a sense of the re­gion’s rich his­tory and cul­ture. The ves­tiges of pa site en­trench­ments are vis­i­ble on sev­eral promon­to­ries in the sur­round­ing hills.

Lo­cal fit­ness ex­po­nents love this el­e­vated walk­ing track. Ly­cra-clad run­ners and power-walk­ers pass me with a friendly wave and with min­utes are zip­ping past once more on their down­ward leg.

Break­ing out onto the ridge, the whole panorama over­whelms my senses. I im­me­di­ately feel like a lord of the manor sur­vey­ing his vast do­main. Or per­haps the Red Queen, that con­cen­trated essence of all pedan­tic monar­chs, who see­ing this view might coldly ob­serve, ‘I am Queen of this realm’ and it all be­longs to ME!’

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