We said our goodbyes to friends at the Motorhome, Caravan and Leisure Show – it was time to move on. That’s what most of our neighbours seemed to be doing – although we could stay till 5.00pm, most of the vans decided to leave in the morning. After refilling the fresh water, we headed off too.
Driving down SH3 we stopped at the Kihikihi – a Maori name meaning cicada. This little town has two businesses of note, the first being the Laundromat on the main road. After being away since Tuesday, we really needed to visit the laundromat. Robin left me to deal with the laundry while he went to use the dump station. Lots of locals use this business too, they came and went with washing, or more often, clothes washed at home which needed drying. With our laundry washed, dried, and neatly folded up, we then stopped at the Viands Bakery, home to award winning pies and all sorts of other tasty goodies.
Next stop was to have our lunch at the Haurua rest area – a very historic place as it turns out. There is a large plaque which confirms the selection of Potatau Te Whereowhero as the first Maori King in 1857, and that this would be hereditary to his family.
Lunch stop at Haurua
And behind the rest stop we spotted the Haurua Marae.
Lunch over we continued down SH3, stopping at Te Kuiti to view the recently erected sculpture of rugby legend Colin “Pinetree” Meads, who grew up on a farm in the area. Colin Meads was not merely the most famous All Black of his era - the Te Kuiti sheep farmer personified a rugged rural masculinity that evoked a bygone era even in his playing days. His iconic status in New Zealand society was recognized in 2001 when he was made a New Zealand Companion of Merit (the equivalent of a knighthood). In 2009 the government reintroduced the former system of titles and Colin Meads accepted the title of ‘Sir’. He stated, however, that unlike his former team-mates Wilson Whineray and Brian Lochore, he didn't want to be addressed as 'Sir' . They, he argued, deserved the title as they were ‘perfect gentlemen’, whereas he was ‘a bit rougher’. In June 2017, Sir Colin Meads attended the unveiling in Te Kuiti of a larger-than-life bronze statue of himself with ball in hand. Sadly, he died of pancreatic cancer two months later.
Statue of Sir Colin Meads at Te Kuiti
Piopio was our stop for the night. All the streets in Piopio’s town centre are named after New Zealand native birds. Piopio itself is the name of an extinct native bird – thought to be a type of song thrush.
We are staying at the pretty little Domain, on the hard as the grass is rather soft and we don’t want to get bogged down. No power, but with toilets and fresh water available we will be quite happy tucked up here for the night.
Overnighting in Piopio