I always liked the idea of walking to Moturata Island. I’ve read on more than one occasion that you can do so when the tide is low. The only trouble with this plan is that I’m not completely confident I would make it back in time. Māori tribes called the island Rata Island due to the dense forest of giant rata that covered the island from crown to sea shore. Traveling tribes use to stop at the island as they sailed up and down the coast in waka. Then, from 1839 to 1841 Edward and George Weller operated the Taieri Whaling Station from the Island. Johnny Jones temporarily revived the station in 1844, employing more than twenty men. Later, from 1862 to 1864 pilots on the island flew signals concerning the state of the river mouth to warn vessels proceeding up the river with passengers and goods for the goldfields. These days the island is a native reserve and is home to many protected seabirds, notably yellow-eyed penguins. Even migrating whales are making a comeback, occasionally being seen in the area.
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