The irony of the name --- not the first time Cook’s arrival in Aotearoa has created chaos.
The network of villages, Te Whaiti, Minginui, Ngaputahi, Papuera, Ruatahuna --- head-scratchingly unfamiliar to most New Zealanders --- has been cut off, from each end of Te Urewera, and from each other. A twenty-five minute drive from Murupara to Te Whaiti through the gorge has become a ninety-minute skid and drift along the metal forestry road --- with agents of the foreign owners ready with trespass notices if you deviate from the unsigned route.
The road problems range from giant sink-holes to two-hundred metre slips to terminal washouts to completely gone. There aren’t many votes in this part of the country and so the urgency to repair is between ten days and six weeks. “But they live in the bush anyway, so they’ll be okay. Resilient people, you know.”
One family is at the kura for over a week until they can negotiate the slip one person at a time on a quad bike. Chaz and Heke are used to being self-sufficient, but glory in the chopper pilot, heading somewhere else, who drops a bottle of milk, some batteries, and a dozen hot cross buns.
The school bus won’t get through in the forseeable future. TV One News reports on resorts and the spoiled Easter holidays, and the large number of pets that have been left distressed by the floods.