Auckland to KeriKeri, The Bay of Islands

Family Reunited

A 3 and a half hour drive up Highway 1 today towards KeriKeri will end with a family reunited.  I am staying with my great aunt and cousin and their family in KeriKeri and we haven’t seen each other for many years.  Spending a few days with them is one of the main attractions of this trip for me – probably way  more fun than some of the big tourist sights!

Although this is the main road north, there is only one lane, so passing is difficult.  Thankfully, it is a bank holiday today, so there is very little traffic.  It makes you realise how far behind New Zealand is though – compare Highway 1 to the M1?!

Beautiful blue agapanthus were everywhere en route.

We passed through Kawakawa, where the main point of interest was the Hundertwasser Toilets, which had a grass roof, gold balls, bottle glass windows and a living tree in the centre!

KeriKeri Hundertwasser Toilets Kawawkawa
Hundertwasser Toilets Kawawkawa

We arrived at Keri Keri just after 3 to a warm welcome from my Auntie Mo and the rest of the family in their beautiful Riverview development.

KeriKeri Riverview Development

Waitangi Visitor Centre - Treaty House

Next day, we visited the Waitangi Visitor Centre – Treaty House, which is just a short driving distance from Kerikeri.

Fascinating Facts

Almost 178 years ago, the Treaty granted Maori people rights to their land and gave them an equal footing with their British colonisers.  The anniversary of the Treaty signing is 6th Feb – there are likely to be some Maori protestors at the celebrations.

​If the massive wakas (war canoes) had been used for trading instead of tribal warfare, New Zealand’s history may have turned out differently?

Only 40/500 tribes actually signed up to the Treaty giving rise to the expression “Hobson’s choice” for the rest.

The 3 main exports for the Maoris were whale oil, flax and wood.  Flas grows everywhere – they made it into strong material for baskets, fishing nets, and clothing.

Flora and Fauna

Beautiful blue agapanthus grow in profusion here – by the roadside.

KeriKeri New Zealand Agapanthus
Beautiful blue agapanthus

Learning the Lingo

Kia Ora – Hallo.  

Now I know why the orange drink was called that – what a great brand name!

Must Do - Maori Cultural Performance

Maori cultural performance at the Treaty Grounds.

KeriKeri Waitangi Treaty Grounds - Maori Cultural Performance

Foodie Firsts

A lovely meal at Ake Ake Vineyard Restaurant in KeriKeri.