Two boys and their boat

23:52, Jan 25 2011
TDN map
Map: Start: Patea, Monday, January 31. Finish: Waitara, Friday February 11.

It's that time of year again.

That time when it's too hot to stay in the office and we start looking for adventure.

Twelve months ago that adventure was Finding the Forgotten, where we followed the Forgotten Highway from Okahukura to Stratford.

The year before was Coasting, a two-week trek along the coast from Mokau to Patea.

This year's undertaking will start on Monday at the same place the first one ended: the Patea river mouth.

From there Taranaki Daily News photographer Cameron Burnell and I will load up a canoe and paddle upstream following an age old "river road" we hope will lead us to the Waitara river mouth some 11 or 12 days later.


The weaving path these rivers take will quickly take us to the "back" of Taranaki, a heartland area rich with a history played out both before and after Europeans arrived and one that continues to tick up stories each day. How much of this we'll find will be up to the rivers and the people who live around it.

It won't all be paddling though because the two rivers don't physically touch. So from some place to the southeast of Toko we'll take leave of the Patea and somehow get our plastic river boat over land to the Waitara.

At this stage we're thinking about launching again from the end of Douglas Rd North but, much like the water we'll be travelling on, this plan is subject to change.

Should a helpful farmer (or someone else equipped with canoe-suitable transport) offer we could drop into the Waitara much further upstream, perhaps at the end of Matau North Rd a place we currently only know as a mark on a map.

Like all travel before road and rail turned journeying into an everyday and even dull event, much will depend on the weather. Though rain or shine we won't be in a rush.

In fact we expect to make diversions a daily event. Here we need help. On a road of hundreds of twists and turns we won't know what is around each corner. So if there is something or someone we just can't afford to miss, let us know and we'll do out best to fit it in.

Contact: or Matt at (06) 759 0824

Taranaki Daily News