Remutaka Trig: A Perfectly Elevated “Place To Sit” (Complete With Seat)

There’s been much recent contention regarding the ‘tūturu’ (“true”) spelling of the kupu ‘rimutaka’, particularly if you’re a descendant of the tribe Rangitāne-o-Wairarapa.

Top o’ Remutaka, watching the approaching southerly roll in…

As always, there’s a story – in this case, a love story – telling of a torrid affair between roaming-roving ‘wifey’, Wairaka, and her suitably nameless slave lover.  Her husband, chief Haunuiananaia (or “Haunui”), was predictably none too pleased, and in his efforts to track her down he actually left a legacy of Māori, place-based nomenclature from Wairarapa back to his home-base in Hawke’s Bay.

“Rimutaka” is a part of this story – his story – and is apparently actually remutaka if your orthography is ‘tika’ (“correct”), which translates to mean: “a place to sit”.

Hence the naming of this piece accordingly, out of respect for the ‘mana whenua’ (“home- or place-based prestige”) of the ‘tāngata whenua’ (“home people”), ko Rangitāne.

Because, why continue to thrash a name that, effectively unequivocally (*if you’re a devotee of te reo Māori), means nothing?

Nō reira, ‘nei rā te mihi rangatira, rangatira mā.

Fittingly, Remutaka Trig eventually does provide us all with a place to sit, and to ponder the inner-workings of life, love, and everything else that matters if you’re a living, breathing, human being.

From the car-park, the start of the route is impossible to miss, and the 30-minute zig-zag journey up the hill to the trig is broken by the odd sequence of stairs – otherwise, she’s a pleasant, constant, scenic climb to a tiny saddle exposing all sets of ranges, and then on to said trig and ‘remutaka’.

Car-park and opposing/western range.  Around half-way up the hill.
Nice to see some alpine daisy action, especially in winter.

My day up here was a pretty tūturu winter’s day, with a fairly menacing weather front approaching steadily from the south-west corner of our ‘coolest little capital’, Te Whanganui-ā-Tara (Wellington).

Fortunately, around 30 minutes of steady climb gets you all the way up, and – as was the case in my case – the “interesting” weather conditions that tend to personify this mountain range make for some equally interesting imagery for the aspiring photog.

South – complete with textbook Pōneke southerly.  Mount Climie is in there, somewhere…
Track/terrain… The northwest view, towards Remutaka Pass.
Slightly more north, and way less west – approaching the trig.
Remutaka Trig (725m).

And, if you happen to get utterly, profoundly, positively pissed on (like I did), you’re only vulnerable for 20-odd minutes, top-to-bottom.

Despite the exposed terrain, this one’s suitable for tamariki (a discarded kid-size/d juice carton evidenced the presence of a child, sometime previously), and there are a few four year-olds in my world who’d totes smash this ‘hīkoi’ (“hike”) with the solid promise of a treat once at the trig.

I’ll finish with a tribal ‘whakatauākī’ (“proverb”) – one further, final ‘nod’ to Rangitāne:

‘Ka rarapa ngā kanohi, ko Wairarapa’ – his (Haunui’s) eyes sparkled (from the sun hitting the surface of the lake), hence “Wairarapa”…

In memory of Haunui, and his story.

‘Haere pai atu, hoki ora mai nei’ – or: “Go well, and return safely”, always;


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