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Thursday, April 8, 2010

In splendid isolation

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Dannevirke was our next stop after leaving Hastings, and we are camped here in splendid isolation. Well, that was until tourists in a camper van arrived quite late, then it took off again bright and early the next morning to get on with their holiday. So once again we were on our own, with just the chickens and guinea fowl for company.

P4070742 All alone in the Motor Camp

Dannevirke, and nearby Norsewood, were settled by Scandinavians. Two ships arrived in 1872, bringing Government sponsored families from Norway and Denmark to help develop the rugged southern Hawkes Bay. The Dannevirke Gallery of History tells the story of these early days and we spent an interesting morning there. The settlers had to wrestle a living out of land covered with dense native forest and it was a long hard slog, with many giving up the struggle.

DSCF3261Settlers clearing the bush of huge trees

We saw several cabinets holding endangered birds, the kiwi and kakapo. Of course, when these specimens were taken, the birds were quite plentiful. Also displayed was a pair of the now extinct huia birds. These beautiful birds were much prized for their plumage which was used by the Maori people in their hair and woven into cloaks.

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The Dannevirke Gallery of History is a small museum housed in the former Court House and is well worth a visit if anyone is travelling through Dannevirke.

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