and the crater rim
Governors Bay, Christchurch
Bs home is in Governors Bay on Banks Peninsula backed by hills at the head of the natural harbour of Lyttelton, a 20 minute drive from Christchurch.
Banks Peninsula & The Seven Sisters
Banks Peninsula (Horomaka in Maori) encompasses two large extinct volcanoes, creating the two natural harbours of Lyttelton and Akaroa, with countless smaller bays and coves. The Bay Area is steeped in the history of the ancient Waitaha and Maori peoples...
The Lyttelton Harbour is an extinct volcanic basin. The seven peaks of the crater rim are known as the ‘Seven Sisters’. Their feminine faces and features can easily be recognised in the hills and they are very significant to the Maori. At Matariki*, the Maori New Year, the Seven Sisters peaks come into perfect alignment with the Pleiades star system (also known as ' the celestial seven sisters'). The sisters, representing the Feminine principle are aligned with the pyramid-shaped sacred mountain ‘Tamatea’ at Rapaki, representing the Masculine Principle.
*Matariki is the Maori name for the Pleiades and the Maori New Year around the 21 June. The word itself carries two meanings: Mata – Riki: ‘tiny eyes’ and Mata – Ariki: ‘eyes of God’.
Rapaki is a small Maori settlement or village in the Bay. The name Rapaki means ‘waistband’ or girdle and legend has it that one of the ancestors came to the shore and dropped his waistband, which turned into the small beach at the foot of the mountain Tamatea. The mountain is named after another important figure in Maori oral tradition, who brought the fire to the Banks Peninsula, reflecting the area’s volcanic origins.
The area was tapu, meaning sacred and was traditionally a place dedicated to sacred ceremony. Today there is a beautiful marae - a traditional Maori ‘meeting house’ with Maori gods hand carved in and around the building. The marae is the heart of the Rāpaki community and the people and their stories remain the heart of the marae.
Energetically this place is very alive and powerful and from the beach you have an amazing view and ‘living sense’ of both Tamatea, the triangular mountain and the line up of the Seven Sisters, who shape the horizon. There are a few natural hot springs on the beach. If you dig a hole you can create your own little bathtub to warm up after your swim in the ocean.
Much can be read about Castle Hill and its amazing history, yet nothing compares to being there and receiving the wisdom from the profound silence of the stones.
In the time of the Waitaha*, Castle Hill was called Te Kohanga or ‘Birthplace of the Gods’. Waitaha legend has it that this was where ancient priests passed on their knowledge to their protégés. It was a place of archeo-astronomy that aligns distant galaxies with these sacred rocky outcrops or boulders. An ‘Earth University’ that transmits knowledge for those who are open to receive the blessings and all that resonates from this sacred place. The Dalai Lama has described Castle Hill as the “Spiritual Centre of the Universe”.
In more recent times Castle Hill was a set for several movies: The Lord of The Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia.
*The Waitaha were a nation of nations that settled in New Zealand long before the arrival of the Maori. They came from Oceania and the Americas and settled here to live in peace and harmony as one nation.
Akaroa (Maori: Long Harbour) is a quaint little township about one hour’s drive from the Governors Bay. It lies in the heart of the second volcano and is a place of incredible natural beauty and magic. The beautiful harbour dominates the landscape and its crystal clear waters are home to the world’s smallest and rarest miniature dolphins, the Hectors Dolphin as well as New Zealand fur seals, little blue penguins and a myriad of bird life.
Akaroa was the site of an early French endeavour to colonise New Zealand’s South. The English beat them to it by a matter of months and placed their flag on the land, whilst the first French settlers were already making their journey across. Nevertheless, the French settlers arrived and to this day Akaroa maintains a French flavour in its heritage, notably in some of the colonial architecture and street names. An amazing place to see in Akarao is the ‘The Giant's Garden’ a Masterpiece Mosaic Garden that can only be compared to the famous ‘Giardino dei Tarocchi’ in Italy.
and the crater rim
and the crater rim