I’m on a boat with world renowned volcanologist, Dr Harry Keys! His sister Margi from Forest and Bird has organised this rare event to Browns Island (Motukorea). I’ll be walking to the volcano summit and circumnavigate the island with my friend Jessamine and 28 other people. There are 58 volcanoes in Auckland, all on the one field. The field is dormant, for now … this is my first ever Meet Up group!!
Many friends questioned my decision to the island, one said it looks like a zit out of water, others said its just a grassy island with a hilly bit. I would have to agree as I’ve actually been past this island many times on the ferry to Waiheke Island. More than likely I would have been too busy drinking wines on the deck to notice Browns Island. But when I saw this event come up on the Auckland Conservation Meetup… the nerd in me leaped out and said ‘do it woman’!!
So I did and as we are waiting for our boat, Jessamine said to me “I hope the boat is big”. Um nope, not really
Felt like we were going to ram the beach, and shoot some baddies (maybe we are the baddies?). The dangers of a creative mind is your always in movie mode!
My friend back on the mainland was right, its a grassy hill! A lot of clumpy grass, it’s like walking in fresh deep powder snow… sort of.
In 1840 this island was used to breed pigs, sheep and cattle. No one lives on here any more, DOC have kept it in pasture to protect its distinctive volcanic and archaeological landscape.
There are a few of these plants ‘Apple of Sodom’. It’s poisonous. No one said what will happen to you if you eat one, they just said don’t eat it. I was curious to know what it would do. I thought I’d better not though, its my first meet up and don’t want to be screaming to the others as I run away from the dragons coming up out of the fiery pits beneath us!!
We reach the summit… well they do!
10,000 years ago Motukorea erupted, for several days weeks or maybe a year. In blowing your stack days, that is a lot! I’m not looking forward to this happening again.
In the background is Rangitoto, that volcano only erupted 550 years ago! Its still gurgling away deep down. If you really want to freak yourself out, visit the Auckland museum and see what will happen if it blows. If your a doomsday prepper, you’ll be looking forward to this day.
Maori settled here about 800 years ago, three pa sites have been found. It would have been bush back then, but what a sweet view they must have had.
This is the view out to Waitamata Harbour, the Maori meaning “The sparkling water”.
Oh yeah, reality check! While walking around the beach we filled 6 bags of rubbish. A reminder to take care of our planet or the planet’s going to drop more than rubbish on our doorstep.
Motukorea is full of history and it helps us to learn more about volcano’s. I will never look away from this island again.
I wanted to finish with our skipper, Alistair. He told me a story about his mum. She would get her husband to stop the car while she got out and picked up the road kill (opossums), then she would gut them immediately and inspect the gut. In it she found NZ native leaves, she took this evidence to the NZ government and was the first person to bring in pest removal of opossums to protect our native trees. Her name is Katie Reynolds, amazing lady who went on to do many great things for conservation.
Motukorea is a 10 min boat ride from St Heiliers Bay. There are no ferries but you can go with groups or do what I did and join ‘Auckland Conservation Meetup’.
Right, whats my next mission? 🙂