Failed plan to move Moeraki Boulders to a parking lot

The vandalism of New Zealand’s famous Moeraki Boulders / Te Kaihinaki was taken as souvenirs and turned into cement, and culminated in the mid-1970s with a bold plan to bring some closer to a parking lot.

For Ngāi Tahu, the rocks represent pumpkins from the ancestors of the Araiteuru waka after stumbling off the coast of Otago during a storm on the return voyage from Hawaiki.

But to others, rocks were little more than an exotic commodity.

About 50 rocks dot along scenic Koekohe Beach, but there was more again.

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Moeraki Boulder has been removed from Koekohe Beach.

Otago Museum / supplied

Moeraki Boulder has been removed from Koekohe Beach.

One of the largest was taken from its coastal habitat for several million years and placed outside the Otago Museum in Dunedin.

“One of the finest and famous“ Moeraki Rocks ”has been removed from its resting place and transported to the city to be placed on the museum grounds, where it will undoubtedly attract great interest, and will surely constitute one of the most interesting of the many valuable historical exhibits in that institution. Evening star An article from May 5, 1938, he said.

Northbound motorists on a unidirectional system in Dunedin can still get a quick glimpse of the rock, which weighs around seven tons.

Reports dating back to the 1930s suggested removing rocks that saved it from collapse by crashing waves and being lost forever.

A large Moeraki Boulder has been transported to the Otago Museum in Dunedin.

Otago Museum / supplied

A large Moeraki Boulder has been transported to the Otago Museum in Dunedin.

Some small rocks They were removed as mementos and ended up in parks in neighboring towns and cities, Including Umaru, Timaru, Christchurch and Dunedin.

Some even ended up overseas. Moeraki rūnanga upoko (chief) David Higgins said he was aware of at least two in Australia.

For the Maori, Te Kaihinaki’s cultural significance is perhaps similar to how Europeans relate to Stonehenge, Higgins said.

“We don’t trade them.”

The rocks have been removed from the shore since Europeans first arrived in New Zealand.

The Moeraki Boulder was installed outside the Otago Museum in Dunedin.

Hamish McNeely / Staff

The Moeraki Boulder was installed outside the Otago Museum in Dunedin.

Since then, some small rocks have been returned to the Mari, and those who were in good condition have been returned to the southern tip of Katiki Beach, south of Moraki.

“Many local families have rocks in their gardens and I have no problem with this practice, however, taking rocks directly from the shore is not allowed now without the express permission of the DOC and the Moeraki runaka (rūnanga),” said Higgins.

One of the greatest crimes against rocks occurred more than four decades ago.

In September 1976, the Waitaki County Council’s record book recorded plans to require the Department of Home Affairs “to obtain permission to move the Moeraki Boulders to a more convenient location.”

Moeraki Boulders in Northern Otago is a draw for tourists.

Monique Ford / Staff

Moeraki Boulders in Northern Otago is a draw for tourists.

The proposal aims to help elderly viewers who were unable to take to the beach, by allowing them instead to view the rocks from the parking lot.

By October, the plan to “place excess Moeraki Boulders near a parking lot” had begun to gain traction.

A month later, the bold plan appeared to be gathering algae.

Among the plan’s critics are the Dunedin branch of the New Zealand Geological Society, which wrote a letter to the council outlining its opposition.

“While we understand your reasons for wanting to make the rocks accessible to the less active visitors to view, we firmly oppose any disruption of the natural gathering that’s currently exposed,” the letter read.

“These concrete rocks are of limited number, and have been plundered in the past.”

Dozens of tourists visit Moeraki Boulders, located off State Highway 1 between Dunedin and Umaru.

Monique Ford / Staff

Dozens of tourists visit Moeraki Boulders, located off State Highway 1 between Dunedin and Umaru.

The remaining rocks were visible in a “geological and meaningful way”.

The association suggested that the board try to obtain rocks from private collections rather than transport those still on shore.

October 1976 Otago Daily Times The story – titled “Unpopular Boulder Plan” – indicated the disappearance of two rocks discovered during excavation.

And when the Department of Land and Survey rejected the proposal to move some of the remaining rocks near the parking lot, the bold plan ended before it began.

Higgins said the council’s plan was “misleading” and made by the few.

“I am not aware of any other scientific anomalies being relayed just to satisfy the few requirements.”

Tammy and Nick Grant in Christchurch visit Moeraki Boulders.

Mitchell Bransgrove / Staff

Tammy and Nick Grant in Christchurch visit Moeraki Boulders.

While the rocks were spared from transportation to the parking lot, don’t think of an idea that ended up as cement.

The plan was drawn up by JT Thomson, a regional engineer for roads and works, who wanted to get cement in Otago rather than importing it from Great Britain, according to someone Otago Daily Times Report from September 15, 1868.

After experimenting with other stones across the province, he tried the “famous, but useless Moeraki Boulders” rocks, which he found superior to imported cement.

His recipe involved crushing a rock and putting it in a kiln for 24 hours, then grinding the reddish-brown stones to produce cement.

“It can be safely said that, over the next twenty years, government business will not consume the available supply of materials.” Otago Daily Times mentioned.

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