Lately my husband and I have been ticking off a visit list around our ‘local’ area for climbing crags. Finding up to date information on climbing crags in the Central North Island was getting frustrating. With this in mind, we decided to visit the crags personally and find out how they are looking.
On the list was the Mangaōkewa Gorge located 5 minutes drive south of Te Kuiti. The gorge is listed as a scenic reserve under the care of the Department of Conservation.
While on our drive to Te Kuiti hubbie and I began talking about writing some pieces around the places we visit. So here is short insight as to how the Mangaōkewa Scenic Reserve came to be.
In 1907, the Te Kuiti Vigilance Committee had recommended to the Government that the proposed 130 acres for the scenic reserve should be increased to 500 acres. The recommendation was accepted. (KING COUNTRY CHRONICLE, VOLUME I, ISSUE 37, 5 JULY 1907 – National Library of NZ, Papers Past)
On the 16th July 1913 an article in the Poverty Bay Herald notes that Mangaōkewa Gorge was among 59 reserves that were set aside for scenic, historical and thermal spring purposes by Parliament during the year ended March 31st. This took the number of reserves set aside across NZ to 318.
From a climbing aspect, the limestone structure of the cliff faces here look spectacular. Resplendent with stalactites and surrounded by dense, cooling NZ bush and bird life. If you are lucky you may even came across a Jurassic looking Weta which I mistook for a discarded skin much to my fright when it actually moved.
Not surprisingly, I found few archival photographs of the reserve so I have included some we took, below.
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