Sunday, May 10

Highland Paradise

I recently tagged on to a tour at Highland Paradise, a twenty acre haven carved out of dense bush-clad hillsides on Mount Maungaroa.
The Tinomana tribe used to live there before the arrival of missionaries in the 1820s.
When the then-chief converted to Christianity everybody moved down to the coast where the missionaries built a model village – Arorangi.
Up on the mountain the houses rotted away, and trees and shrubs soon covered the marae, meeting places and other important rocks and stones.
The late Raymond Pirangi Senior began the mammoth task of reclaiming the area and his daughter Tutu carried on the work and is now in charge of Highland Paradise.
The views from up there are magnificent. Lookouts would have been able to see enemy warriors (of which it seems there were many) long before they came near.
Danny Mataroa was the guide on this occasion. He’s a well-known local personality, a great showman and a mine of information about the old days with their battles and legends, as well as the trees and flowers all around.
A Tereora College social studies class organised the tour and it was an awesome way to study history and culture with a bit of biology thrown in. Interactive too. Danny got kids to play the part of priests, chiefs … and victims!
The weather was lovely; the paths were gentle, the botanical gardens beautiful, and the tour fascinating. Check out the Highland Paradise website for more information.