Nor’westers And Nomenclature

Sunday fun-day springtime feels on Te Ahumairangi Hill — November 27, 2016.

The kupu “ahumairangi” denotes something “borne or originating from the heavens”, and as well as comprising the name of this peak, ‘Ahumairangi’ is also the name given to our nor’west wind — our most significant, seasonal, year-round wind here in Wellington.

Southerlies have their place, no doubt; but they’re not everything.

Our nor’wester, Ahumairangi, is.

What’s more, every fair peak has a wind that feeds it, and sustains it.  In Te Ahumairangi Hill’s case, it’s our nor’west friend — so these two are even further connected, in this sense.

As well as being an easy contender for ‘Wellington’s Prettiest Short Hike’, “The Hill” is also a favourite nesting site for our native falcon, the ‘kārearea’ (signage signalling the significantly raised risk of attacks on humans by defensive, potential-parent birds on track networks is abundant — just, go easy).

I saw my first one ever, today.  I almost missed her, initially mistaking her silhouette for a fern frond until I realized we were totally eyeballing one another, and swapping blinks.

Neither of us moved; we were both happy to have our moment, with no tension or threat present.

When it was time to go, I backed off slowly, turned, and meandered on my merry way along the ‘Northern Walkway’.

Totally bear in mind, these birds are there and they’re not as difficult to spot as you might imagine…

Heavens-borne, indeed.


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