Anti-travel in Urupukapuka: a communication from Paul Janman
I'm sitting on an oyster-scabbed boat ramp, which is the only place we can get an internet signal here. The sun is kissing two old Pa sites standing up like a pair of green tits on the other side of Otehei Bay. Urupukapuka Island is ripe for anti-travel...the locals however are innocent of the precepts of the Committee for the Reconstruction of Space and Time on Pig Island...this island has been an archaeological goldmine, and is now infested with legions of red, yellow and white 'dolphin-watching' tour boats. A helicopter dragonflied down here yesterday, and disgorged half a dozen gawpers.
In 1772 Marion du Fresne spotted a fortification on the hill above us, stopped to talk to the locals, and built his hospital in neighbouring Moturoa. He was knocked off not long afterwards. There is also a story about the restaurant here, built by Zane Grey, writer of novels set in an idealised American West. The restaurant burned down in suspicious circumstances: I am needling recalcitrant locals about the probable arson. I found a 1972 history textbook among the crap novels here at the bach. One of the photos in the textbooks shows soldiers at work on the Great South Road in 1863. I suspect it was taken by William Temple, a man who marched south into the Waikato carrying primitive image-making equipment - collodion wet plates and all that - as well as a rifle. Temple won a Victoria Cross at Rangiriri, and took 'technically imperfect' photos which seem now to have a blurred, layered, almost proto-cinematic quality. Our Great South Road film should finish (ie, reverse) his work. The kids are rioting...pj