Friday, February 13, 2015


February 2, 2014
Following the annual training (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday – December 3-5)for all CES employees and senior missionary couples assigned to CES held in Hamilton, New Zealand Sister Peron and I set out on a special trip.  We had received prior approval from our mission president and our file leaders since the trip was to destinations outside of our mission boundaries but within the country of New Zealand.  With Hamilton being located outside our mission boundaries and with Institute being out for the summer now was the perfect time for this trip.

In our family history there are some tracks into Polynesia that stirred our desire for this trip.  First: Sister Perron’s great, great, grandfather Noah Rogers was called by the Prophet Joseph Smith and was the first missionary into the Isles of the Pacific in 1843 serving in Tahiti.  Sister Perron and I travelled to Tahiti several years ago where we followed in some of his footsteps guided by his journal.  Second: Elder Perron served here in New Zealand fifty years ago.  While here we have followed in some of his footsteps. Third: We have some grandchildren with the last name of Hinckley and one of their ancestors - Ira Hinckley – was one of the early missionaries sent by the church to New Zealand.  Some of Elder Hinckley’s missionary experiences and Maori Traditions blend together so powerfully we felt we needed to walk in some of his footsteps. 
The next several paragraphs – that can be found by searching – tells of MOARI TRADITIONS AND THE MORMON CHURCH and cites Elder Ira Hinckley.
Latter-day Saint missionary work did not begin in New Zealand until 1854, and even then progress was slow. Because of difficult conditions for the Church in Utah, the mission in New Zealand was an on-again, off-again operation until the late 1870s. By that time several branches of the Church had been established among the European part of the population. But little had been done by our missionaries to attract the native people, the Maoris, to the Church.
Most Maoris had been converted to Protestant and Roman Catholic Christianity by the 1850s; but because they believed they had been cheated in land deals by the whites, whom they called pakehas, the Maoris made war on the pakehas. These wars lasted from the late 1850s until the 1870s. When the wars ended, the time seemed to be right to take the restored gospel to this outstanding part of the Polynesian race.
When William Bromley was called as New Zealand mission president in 1881, President Joseph F. Smith told him that the time was right to take the gospel to the Maoris. The first successes among them came in 1883, but once the Maoris and the Mormons got together, Maori converts flocked into the Church.

Why did the LDS Church appeal to the Maoris? On the surface the Maoris seem very little different from their Polynesian brothers and sisters elsewhere in the Pacific. But even though Polynesians of all island groups have taken well to the restored gospel, the Maoris appear to have been prepared in special ways for the coming of the Mormon missionaries.

In pre-Christian times the Maoris had a well-developed form of religion. Tohungas, or priests, supervised worship and all else that was involved in this primitive religious system. Sometimes these men took roles similar to the shamans of northeast Asia. They became mediums for the atua, gods, whom they served. In these roles, according to Eric Schwimmer, the tohungas would give oracles, cure diseases, and admonish their people. After the establishment of Christianity, however, some old tohungas continued to carry on their former practices but now claimed to receive their revelations from a different source. In other instances family patriarchs, village elders, and chiefs acted as prophets and were “regarded with feelings of reverence and were credited with possessing supernatural powers.” No fewer than five such men made prophecies concerning the coming to New Zealand of the true church. As a result of such prophetic utterances, a number of Maoris ultimately joined the Church.

Each instance of prophecy is of great interest to Latter-day Saints. Two of these can serve as examples. In 1830, the year the Church was organized, an aged patriarch named Arama Toiroa, who lived in the area of Mahia, (area in New Zealand) gathered his children, grandchildren, and relatives together and gave them some advice. (At that time most of his descendants had joined the Church of England.) His people, who considered him a seer, listened carefully to what he said:

“‘My dear friends, you must leave that church, for it is not the true church of the God of heaven. The church you have joined is from the earth and not from heaven.’

“Upon hearing this his people asked, ‘Where then can we find a church where we can worship the true God?’

“Arama Toiroa answered, ‘There will come to you a true form of worship; it will be brought from the east, even from beyond the heavens. It will be brought across the great ocean and you will hear of it coming to Poneke (Wellington) and afterwards its representatives will come to Te Mahia.

“‘They will then go northward to Waiapu but will return to Te Mahia.

“‘When this “Karakia,” form of worship, is introduced amongst you, you will know it, for one shall stand and raise both hands to heaven.
“‘When you see this sign, enter into that church. Many of you will join the church and afterwards one will go from amongst you the same way that the ministers came even unto the land from afar off.’”

Fifty-four years passed before Arama’s words were fulfilled. In 1884 Elders Alma Greenwood and Ira Hinckley brought the gospel to the Wellington area and then made their way to Hawkes Bay (a coastal region of New Zealand). There they were joined by President William E. Stewart, and together they traversed the path Arama had predicted. It was at Korongata, however, and not at Mahia, that Arama’s descendants first accepted the gospel. Brother Whaanga described the day when the gospel was first preached to Arama’s people:

“In journeying northward they reached … Korongata, where many of us were assembled on the Sabbath day.

“Amongst the people who were there was a grandson of Arama Toiroa whose name was Te Teira Marutu.

“The meeting was conducted by Elder Stewart and his friends. The services were opened with singing and prayer, and a Gospel address was delivered, after which they sang again, and Brother Stewart arose to dismiss with prayer. In doing so he raised both hands and invoked God’s blessing upon the people.

“As soon as the grandson of Arama Toiroa saw this he arose and declared that this was the church of which his forefather prophesied which would surely be firmly established amongst the Maori people.

“He and his wife applied for baptism, and they and their children were thus initiated into the Church by Elder Stewart.”

Subsequently the missionaries returned to Mahia and held meetings with other descendants of Arama Toiroa. After seeing the sign, these people said, “This is indeed the church for us, for did not our revered forefather, Arama Toiroa, prophesy about it?”

Largely as a result of this prophecy, every person in Korongata joined the Church, and a large number of Maoris in Mahia entered the waters of baptism.

By the end of 1884 the missionaries had firmly established the restored gospel among the Maori people. The next several years were very satisfying to most of the elders and sister missionaries (several couples were sent to New Zealand beginning in 1885). In August 1885, there were 16 Maori and 4 pakeha branches of the Church, and this number continued to grow steadily for the next 15 years. At the close of 1887, there were 2,573 Latter-day Saints, and by the turn of the century there were nearly four thousand members of the Church in New Zealand. Most of the Maori tribes, including large numbers in the north, around Whangarei and the Bay of Islands, had been introduced to the gospel. In 1901 there were 79 branches. Clearly, since the early years in Hawaii, the Church had not enjoyed so much success with a Polynesian people.
Sister Perron and I left Hamilton headed for Mahia, New Zealand and Karaongato, New Zealand where Ira Hinckley and his companion baptized many of Arama Toiroa’s descendants.
Leaving Hamilton we drove East to Tauranga where we spent the night and from there we followed the coast – Pacific Coast Highway – to Gisborne where we spent the night and attended church.  This was planned as Mahia is just south of Gisborne and many of the old time Maori families still live in the area.  In particular we were looking for Paul Whaanga who in his 90’s and is still the Gisborne stake patriarch.  From Gisborne we travelled to Mahia where we walked the beaches and the hills taking pictures.  Leaving Mahia we continued down the Pacific Coast to the Hastings area where Karangoto – [now Bridge Pa] is located.  We spent the night in the area visiting an old cemetery – which is right behind the LDS church – taking pictures.  There we found some saints also visiting the cemetery – some of them were from Mahia.

This special trip was also special in the sense that we were now traversing country that Elder Perron had not seen before – this area was not in his mission 50 years ago nor is it in our mission now.  This trip was a delight.  After visiting Korongato we returned home the long way – travelled across the country to Palmerston North, up to Wanaganui, and New Plymouth, across the forgotten highway to Taumaruni then to Turangi, Taupo and back home through Hamilton.
Our trip will be shared through the following pictures and comments.
Aroha Nui,
Elder & Sister Perron
MAHIA – comments are below each photo

As we approached Mahia this was our first glimpse of the area across the Bay.  Obviously the sea was very important to early Maori settlements for food and transportation.
 Mahia is located in the corner of the Bay just above the flower used as a pointer in this picture.
We are impressed with the beauty but also the isolation as we approach Mahia.

On a hill just above Mahia looking back across the Bay where the previous pictures were taken.  This area is obviously sacred ground to our family for it was in this area in 1830 KORONGATO – comments are below each photo

Leaving Mahia we drove down the coast to Hastings, New Zealand (about 120 miles) to find Korongato.  The Korongato of the past is todays town of Bridge Pa.  From this vantage point Bridge Pa is center-left in the above picture.  Bridge Pa is about 15 miles inland from the ocean which is off to the left of this picture.

We found Bridge Pa, New Zealand.
Upon driving further into Bridge Pa imagine our excitement when we found this sign.  Marae is a Maori word denoting a traditional Maori gathering place.  Even more exciting if you will notice just behind the sign at the top right – by the telephone pole – is a LDS church building.

As we drove over to the church we found a cemetery which for all practical purposes is part of the church grounds but more acurately the church is built on lands previously owned by the Maori people who had joined the church here.  Virtually all of the people buried here are LDS and are descendants of the old time Maori families.  We indeed found Korongata.
With the original intent of our trip concluded and forever placed in our memory we will share the rest of our trip by posting a few pictures with comments:
where Arama Toiroa told his people: “The church you have joined is from the earth and not from must leave that church, for it is not the true church of the God of heaven…There will come to you a true form of worship; it will be brought from the east, even from beyond the heavens. It will be brought across the great ocean and you will hear of it coming to Poneke (Wellington) and afterwards its representatives will come to Te Mahia” Ira Hinckley and his companions brought the gospel to Mahia

Sister Perron standing beside a Maori carving in the entrance of the Armitage Hotel in Tauranga, NZ

So much beach – So few people - So many shells!  This is paradise! Popamoa Beach, NZ

Elder Perron strolling Papamoa Beach at dusk.  The beach is in the Taurange / Mount Maunganui area.

Driving the Pacific Coast Highway from Tauranga to Gisborne seemed to be one ocean vista after another.



Can you ever see too many ocean vistas?

Enjoy it you will never see it again!


The historic Raukokore Anglican Church built in 1894.  The church is Raukokore’s most notable feature.  The church stands isolated close to the shore of Papatea Bay (about 24 miles west of Hicks Bay.)  It is one of the most photographed churches in New Zealand.  We did not know it was there; Just came around the corner and there is was.  It was a nice addition to another seascape.  We stopped and walked through the building.  There was a note that stated there would be “no services for the next three weeks as the minister was going to be absent.”  A sign also asking visitors to “forgive the smell under the baptismal font, a whanua of penguins have made it their home and the mother penguin is feeding them fish.”


Tokomare Bay - Sister Perron and I pulled off of the Pacific Coast Highway to take a walk on the beach, stretch our legs and see what kind of sea shells we might see.  After a few minutes we drove a small road back up the Bay towards what appeared to be a small village and ran into some history.

We found old abandoned buildings that were evidence of a once thriving businesses.  A sing indicated that we were in Waima.


The buildings had no roofs, long gone from the wind and rain.

By the brick work and size of the buildings here in the middle of nowhere there has once been a great enterprise.


Just past the buildings we found a wharf jutting out into the bay of considerable length and size.  There was a sign posted stating:  WARNING – HAZARDOUS AREA – Wharf collapse could endanger users.  Visitors use at their own risk.” Another sign said: “The wharf is in poor condition. Use at your own risk. No more than 15 people on the wharf at once. Stay off in big surf.”
History books tell us that in 1905 a small jetty was built to help the farmers put their wool in small boats and take it out to larger ships.  Then a wool store and dumping shed were built at the jetty.  In 1909 the area came alive with the formation of Tokomura Freezing Co. Ltd.  Twelve butchers were brought in and the facility was butchering 2,000 lambs and 100 cattle per working day. There was now a butchering and freezing facility. That same year the New Zealand Shipping Co built a large cargo and wool store.   The large wharf was built, It was the start of a boom that lasted another 40 years. In the early years 400 vessels were handled annually.  The freezing works closed down in 1953.  The New Zealand Shipping Co had depot here and the harbour operated until 1963.  There were by then more economical ways to get the product to the market place.

Seems this was all history by the time I arrived in New Zealand in 1963.

The Ocean Beach Motel, Wainui Beach, Gisborne, NZ.  Our home away from home for a couple of nights -  our car parked out front.

Sister Perron taking a stroll on Wainui Beach, Gisborne, NZ.

The port city of Gisborne, NZ looking down from Kaiti Hill Lookout.

The best inscription on a statute I have ever read!  Here at the park on Kaiti Hill Lookout. We found several notable events memorialized.  Sister Perron is reading one: “IN MEMORY OF THE LATE PRINCESS DIANA WHO PLANTED THIS POHUTUKAWA IN 1983.” 
Then... the best one I have ever read.  The inscription on the statute said:
“ABOUT THIS STATUE – This statue was placed here at the time of the bicentenary of the landing of Lieutenant James Cook and the men of Endeavour in Poverty Bay in 1769 –the first known landing of Europeans in New Zealand.

It was cast in bronze from an original marble statute which had been purchased in Italy in the late 19th century by Moss Davis, the owner of the Captain Cook brewery in Auckland.
In the belief that it was a replica of James Cook it was gifted to the city and a twin bronze was placed on the brewery in Khyber Pass, Auckland, despite concerns by those who recognized that the uniform was not that of the British navy and the facial features bore little resemblance to Cook.

Since October 1969 the statue has been a source of delight for photographers and a source of embarrassment for historians.  Who is he? We have no idea.”

Our next stop was Hastings, NZ in our quest to find Korongata.  Sister Perron on top of Te Mata Peak where one has a 360 degree view of the Hastings, NZ area.  Korongata is in the valley behind her.

Rush Munro’s Ice Cream – New Zealand Famous!  Every guide book tells you to go to Rush Munro’s for ice cream if you are in Hastings, NZ.  One book said: “Rush Monro’s, enough said!”  Sister Perron and I said, “We have to try this ice cream!”  We drove by Rush Munro’s about 6:30 P.M. and the place was closed.  No sign with business hours.  Oh, by the way there is only one Rush Munro ice cream parlour.  Disappointed we said, “We will get some tomorrow before we leave town”.  We went by about 10:45 A.M. and the store is closed.  There were other people there who looked puzzled, climbed into their car and drove off.  Just as we are ready to leave Sister Perron noticed someone inside – behind the locked gate.  She asks, “What time do you open?”  “11 0’clock.”  Obviously we waited the few extra minutes – you can see in the picture Sister Perron is sampling all the flavours.  NOTHING MORE NEED BE SAID – glad we did not miss it.

Lawn Bowl tournament in Woodville, NZ.  Driving through the small town Sister Perron said, “Hey they are having a Lawn Bowl game in there!”  The club house was right along the highway.  She had never seen the game played before so we parked and went in.  There was a light drizzle of rain.  The Club President came over to visit with us and insisted on giving us a tour of the club house!

Next stop Palmerston North, NZ where we stopped to walk around and stretch our legs.  Reminder Christmas is approaching with the decorated Christmas Tree.  (This picture was taken 10 December 2014.)  This park in right downtown and we stopped at the i-site store for information on places to visit in the area and to book a motel in Wanganui, NZ. 

The International Pacific College is located in Palmerston North, NZ.  It so happens that the day we stop at the i-store is the day and hour of their graduation ceremonies.  There is about to be a processional for the graduating students.  These Japanese students (Taiko Drummers) are waiting to put on a performance for the graduates as part of their graduation ceremonies.  While they were waiting for the processional and we were waiting we started visiting with them and ended up getting a picture with them.

We can hear the bag-pipes playing and the processional is said to be twenty minutes away so the drummers and dancers are getting into place.  THIS WAS SUCH A HIGH ENERGY PERFORMANCE!  We have a video of the performance everyone needs to see.  We ended up standing right beside the president of the college before the event was over.  We were not giving up our favoured spot!  The processional and ceremonies concluded right here following the Drummers performance!  The now empty plaza was packed with people and we were front and centre.

Our motel in Whanganui, NZ.  Whanganui is located on the West Coast of New Zealand where the Whanganui River empties into the Tasman Sea.  The Whanganui River is the longest navigable river in New Zealand and an integral part of the area, shaping the development, settlement and history of both the Maori and European settlers.  Whanganui was established in 1840 by European settlers but the area – up and down the river – was home to the Maoris long before.  Whanganui is Maori for “big bay” or “big harbour.”

Whanganui is a city with a rich cultural heritage and vibrant arts scene.  Evidence of the “art scene” is the many pieces of sculptured art that lines the river walk.  The large polished, stainless steel, globe (sphere)above represents the world around us – you can see everything around reflected – a closer look will reveal Sister Perron and I standing at the centre of the globe taking this picture. You can barely recognize my white shirt.  Of course the tree in the reflection is behind us; The black lines in the globe represents the Whanganui River which gives life to this area and what the city is named after.

Perhaps my favourite sculpture along the river walk.  I understand the contribution pencils have made to education – art, literature and the sciences.  We had pencils in Shoshone, Idaho way back when I was a kid.    Above… Sister Perron is going to write a love letter to Elder Perron.

Along the river walk in Whanganui is this marker indicating a significant landing place.  The Inscription:  “Te Tauranga Waka O Nga Matua Tupuna – The landing place of the canoes of our ancestors.” (Maori to English)

It was raining (drizzle) so we decided to take a drive up the Whanganui River Road (50 miles – 80 kilometers – one way.)  The road took over 30 years to construct, the Whanganui River Road was opened in 1934.  Construction was delayed many times because of floods and slides.  Prior to the 1930s access to the remote settlements upstream was from a boat that operated along the river.  The road is paved most of the way but very narrow and only wide enough for one car in many spots.  This is a view from the top of Aramoana Summit looking up river the direction we are headed.  At the end of the road is Pipiriki (still 40 miles away.)  In Maori Aramoana means “the path to the sea.”
Along the road we found a farm house with a gas pump that had quite working years ago but is still rusting away.  Beautiful as the mountains around it.

Ranana (London) – the settlement features a beautiful Maori Marare as well as a century old church shown in the next picture.

The early Christian missionaries gave these Maori settlements along the river English names.  Ranana (London) is one of the larger settlements.  This is a century old church in the settlement.  The settlement is not very large but people gather from up and down the river.

As mentioned it was raining – seems even the sheep gather under the trees – if possible.


Here and in all of the back country the bridges are old and are one way.  The sign means the cars coming at me have the right of way indicated by the big black arrow.  When you come to such a bridge watch the sign because it tells you who has the right of way.  They change.

Picturesque mail box alongside the road.  The fence and mailbox add character to this life lived in this remote area.

No traffic so Elder Perron just stopped in the road and walked back for a picture.  Mainly to show you the long narrow road in this remote country side that went forever.

Hiruhaharama (Jersusalem) We were told that Jerusalem would be a great photo opportunity if the skies were clear.  The settlement would reflect in the water of the river and the hills around the place would frame the picture.  We came around the corner and Jerusalem shrouded in clouds.  It was beautiful with the old church sticking up right in the middle of the picture.  Very fitting for the Christmas season for a couple of missionaries to be here taking the picture.

The river runs through it… a beautiful vista of the river below from taken from the road.

Towards the end of the road we were bordering the Whanganui National Park.

From Pipiriki (end of the road) Jet-boat trips are available up river (18 miles) to the BRIDGE TO NOWHERE.   The bridge is a concrete road bridge spanning the Mangapurua Stream Located deep in the forest of Whanganui National Park   There are no roads leading to the bridge, but it is a popular tourist attraction, accessible by mountain bike or tramping on a variety of different trails, or by boat followed by a 45 minute (one way) walk along maintained bush trails.  It was built across the deep Mangapurua Gorge to provide access to an area where the government was opening up land in 1917 for pioneering farmers, mainly soldiers who had returned from World War I. The intention was to build roads to it later, but the area proved to be so remote and unsuitable for farming that the venture failed and the farms reverted to native bush. 
We spent eight hours exploring the remote Whanganui River country.  A great day!

Goodbye to Whanganui… We stopped on our way out of town for a picture of the city from a viewing platform built on Dunn Hill.  The sculptured sphere shown several pictures back – along the river walk – is a very small white dot across the river from Sister Perron in this picture.  To Sister Perron’s right, up river and around the bend, is the Wanganui River country we have just shown you in the previous pictures.

Driving North from Whanganui we passed through Patea.  Patea is the home of the outstanding Patea Maori Club, whose 80s hit Poi-E is still one of the country’s favourite songs. Patea has a rich Maori and European history. Driving though the town you pass the Aotea Memorial Waka.  Very impressive!  Waka in Maori is canoe or it can be a word used to designate related tribes.  Here it does both.

In Opunake we discovered a town where it’s history and it’s present-day is depicted in art painted on most of the cities buildings.  Hence history on the side of this theatre building.

In this unique town of Opunake we found a bronze statue of Peter Snell.  Peter Snell was born in Opunake in 1938.

Peter Snell is one of the greatest athletes of all time and New Zealand’s Sport Champion of the Twentieth Century.  In the 1960’s he won three Olympic Gold Medals for 800 and 1500 meters and two Commonwealth Gold Medals for the mile and 800 yard track events.  He set seven individual world records during his athletic career, including twice setting a new mark for the mile distance.  He was also a member of New Zealand’s quartet that broke the world 4x1 mile relay record.  Elder Perron was serving a mission in New Zealand in the 1960”s obviously Peter Snell is one of his heroes.

It is obvious that this pole (telephone pole or power pole) belonged to an era and locale long forgotten.  There were no other poles in the area – the pole is a sole survivor!

On our way back home we decided to traverse New Zealand’s oldest Heritage Trail, the Forgotten World Highway a three-hour scenic link between the West Coast and the Central Plateau. The old highway follows ancient Maori trade routes and pioneering farm tracks, through ambitious
historic settlements, untamed native bush and stunning natural scenery.  We began in the town of Stratford and ended in Taumarunui on the Central Plateau. What the GPS said was to be a three hour drive took much longer as we stopped to take photographs.

The first of many markers along the Forgotten World Highway.  Sister Perron has learned a lot from the Polynesian YSA we work with… like never have you photo taken unless you contort your face and flash a hand sign.

Along the Forgotten World Highway.

As we drove along the Forgotten World Highway we found something unexpected. We were entering an independent republic!  The small print on the sign reads “for a safe and memorable passage please purchase a PASSPORT from the hotel or Border Control (when manned.)” What?

Our investigation gave us some background:  In the heart of the Stratford District in Taranaki lies the small town of Whangamomona. When we say town, of course, what we really mean is Republic. When revised district boundaries tried to take Whangamomona out of Taranaki and put it instead in the Manawatu-Whanganui region, the locals said bugger that. In protest[November 1989], they declared themselves an independent republic, elected a series of presidents, (only some of whom have been human), and got on with doing things their way. Which is not too hard to do when you're a wee way off the beaten track.”

First settled in 1895, the village of Whangamomona was once a bustling frontier town, with up to 300 residents providing strong service links to the hardy farmers trying to wrestle a living from the nearby bush. The town experienced a great flood in 1924, then farm mergers and rationalisation of the 1960s (cessation of railway service) the population has declined to about 30 residents.

Sister Perron is headed for the headquarters of the Republic.  I do not know if it is for a potty break or to obtain a passport?

Sister Perron standing at the bar in the hotel – which also serves as the passport office.  You can see the sign on the counter behind Sister Perron which very clearly indicates this as the Passport Office.

The passport office clerk (waitress, bar tender, store clerk and perhaps cook) was very friendly and funny.  When we walked in and  inquired about a passport her first question was, “do you have your passport, I will be happy to stamp it for you!”  They have an official stamp for the Republic of Whangamomona.  We had left our passport back in our apartment in Takapuna – how sad we were for having missed the opportunity.  We asked about obtaining a passport from the Republic of Whanamomona.  It required a $5 donation that went toward education.  Sister Perron is filling out her Passport.

Though the move (declaring themselves the "Republic of Whangamomona") began as a pointed protest around New Zealand , the town continued to hold a celebratory Republic Day once a year, during which a vote for President was held. The day has become a local festival day, and attracts visitors from throughout the North Island. In 2001, the celebration became biennial, held in December (December 24th) to take advantage of the summer weather.

The clerk invited us back to celebrate their independence which last one day every two years.  Elder Perron indicated he would love to come back – asked if he could run for office – and was told “you would be welcome to run for president but we cannot guarantee that the vote would be on the up and up.”  “Sounds just like every other Republic,” he responded.  We all laughed.

We are now proud holders of a passport from the Republic of Whangamona. “It's usually the presidential elections marred by scandal on Whangamomona Republic Day that we are most noted for” the clerk pointed out:  Thousands of people will descend on Whangamomona for possum-skinning, sheep-racing and political intrigue like no other.” She promised.  Then she informed us of the important stuff,this year they are going to take the unusual step of calling on all visitors to help decide their fate as a "micro-nation.  We will be holding a referendum to see if we should stay with the Whanganui-Manawatu region, try to get back in with Taranaki or tell them both to stick it," she said. "I think we know which way people will vote. We are also looking at the possibility of joining the United Nations.”

We left the Republic with some mixed emotions… we had made a new friend in that town!   We had to stop and take a picture!

Along the Forgotten World Highway.

The Forgotten world Highway goes through some rugged, beautiful countryside.  It climbs three saddles, including the Strathmore Saddle, the Whangamomona saddle and the Tahora Saddle.  This tunnel was built in 1936 and is known locally as the Hobbit's Hole, although the official name is Moki Tunnel.  Home of fossilized giant crabs, the tunnel floor was lowered in 1989 to allow access for triple-decked stock trucks.

Along the Forgotten World Highway Elder Perron checks out the beautiful foliage.

After leaving the Forgotten World Highway at Taumarunui we turned East and headed to the Lake Taupo area for the night.  From a view point along the highway we had a view of Mt. Tongariro  and the Mt Tongariro National Park shrouded in long hanging clouds in the disatance.

Our motel in Turangi at the South end of Lake Taupo.  It reminded Elder Perron of a typical motel where fishermen would put up for the fishing trip.  Just a room and a small café in the middle of the outdoors.

Next morning we visited the Tongariro National Trout Centre.  Obviously a must stop!

The world famous Tongariro River reportedly the best trout fishing in New Zealand.

Elder Perron had to go down and stand on the banks of Tongariro River – holding a stick – play-act a moment of fishing.  Sister Perron was called upon to record this great moment for posterity!

Turning steam into power.  Geothermal power production is a small but significant part (16%) of New Zealands energy generation capacity.  Most of the geothermal power plants are concentrated around the Taupo Volcanic Zone.  Driving through that area we stopped long enough to take a picture of one of the plant.

Maori Marae built around thermal pools.  For generations, Māori have used thermal waters for medicinal purposes, especially for skin complaints and rheumatic diseases.  They even used the hot pools for cooking.

And that my friends is the end of this blog.  We hope you enjoyed the little trip with us. 
Until we write again....Aroha nui. 

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