Late summer can be a very special time, a time of "golden weather." Unfortunately, drought is taking hold in many parts of the country - a good summer for some is not a good summer for all. Despite my concern about drought, I find that memories of the heat and bright light of summer warm me up through winter's cold grey times. So I am really pleased with catching this memory prompt - an image of the Hokianga Harbour on a blue sky/bright sunshine day.
The Hokianga is on the west coast of the northern North Island. This photo, taken at Opononi, looks towards the harbour mouth. Between the green of the southern head and the high sand dune of the northern head you can just see the white foam of some waves breaking - due to the notorious boat-wrecking sandbar (or to the lashing tails of the taniwha guarding the mouth of the harbour.) The sand hills on the north side are 150-170m high.
It is a long estuarine harbour, reaching far inland. Now a quiet area, it has a rich history. I am particularly taken by stories of Kupe, the great Polynesian ancestor/explorer who is said to have sailed from Hawaiki, around the North Island and part of the South Island, then settling here. Some years later he left to return to Hawaiki. The name for the harbour - "Te Hokianga Nui a Kupe," commemorates this. It is usually shorted to "Hokianga." The story and the translations vary, but his description "Te Puna i Te Ao Marama" - "the spring of the world of light" seems very apt too.
I am lucky to be able to return to Hokianga, in memory at the very least.