Having lived near Napier for every summer since 2005 I am ashamed to think of the number of local attractions to which I have not been [Thanks Winston to those of a grammatical bent]. One such attraction is the gannet colonies at Cape Kidnappers. I remedied this omission last Thursday with a trip with Gannet Beach Adventures. The company operates tractor pulled trailers along the shore from Clifton the 7 or so kilometres along to the end of the Cape from whence one can walk the further kilometer or two up to the headland and the principal gannet colony. There is lots to see and lots to learn about the birdlife and the stunning and important geology of the area from the knowledgeable driver/guides who also provided lots of fun for the young and old alike.
Cape Kidnappers was so named after an attempt by local Māori to abduct the servant of a member of Captain Cook's crew aboard HMS Endeavour, during a landfall there on 15 October 1769. The crew member was Tiata, a Tahitian accompanying Cook's interpreter Tupaia. Cook's journal states that Tiata was in the water near Endeavour when a Māori fishing boat pulled alongside and dragged him aboard. Sailors from Endeavour′s deck immediately opened fire on the fishing boat, killing two Māori and wounding a third. Tiata promptly jumped overboard and swam back to Endeavour, while the remaining Māori paddled their craft back to shore. A 4-pounder cannon was fired after them from Endeavour′s quarterdeck, but the Māori boat was soon out of range. Cook described the cape as having steep white cliffs on either side, with two large rocks resembling hay stacks near the headland.
|I have been trying to imagine what the UK's Health and Safety people would say.|
|We are off along the coastline - the journey has to be timed to take account of the tides|
|We all set off. Adrain would hate this but, in reality, everyone dispersed very quickly|
|The Cape's tip with the Ranger's House in its isolated splendour|
|The path to the Cape head and the gannet colony|
|The last leg|
|Looking back from near the top the tractors are on the beach furthest away from where I am taking this photo|
|The return journey starts here|
|Looking at the Cape from the end of the walk|