Friday, 6 February 2009

A Village Called Whangara

Earlier in the week I went to Whangara (wh is pronounced f): a village 29 km North of Gisborne on New Zealand's North East coast. It is the home of a Maori tribe known as Ngati Kanohi, whose earliest ancestor arrived on the back of a whale. This is where the book and film Whalerider is set (and shot) and the people of Whangara are the people you see on the screen. They're whale people. They have lived on that piece of land for a thousand years. Their sense of matemate-a-one is very is very strong In Maori culture the phenomenon of matemate-a-one describes the sickness experienced when parted from tribal land—a grieving for place. It is beyond love. It's a sickness that affects the mind and the soul, a primal response to and a craving for a particular place. For home.

We didn't go down into the Village because so many people do that it would, to us, have felt like an invasion of privacy. So I contented myself with a feeling of the place and photos from above using my telephoto lens.


  1. The Welsh have a word for it - hiraeth. I wonder why the English don't.

  2. This place looks like a place that I would want to calm. The first photo especially invites me. It must have been difficult to be so close to it and not be able to step foot there. I really like that first photo.

    How neat...the wooden whale with the man and the history.

    Glad I read this, thank you for sharing it...GB. Again, I really appreciate your wandering the world and sharing what you find with us. I can only imagine the other things you see and aren't able to grab with a photo.