I have covered the Onepu MTB Park, Onepu Wetlands and the Karaponga Reserve in previous posts - and this one is just a morning explorer with my Mum. She had been in the Philippines for a couple of months, and now that the weather is warmer in New Zealand (just coming into Spring), it was nice to show her some of the places I had been to. It was also a chance for me to see the wetlands again as Bill Clark (and the Onepu Community Group) had been doing some work in there recently.
Bill Clark and I go way back to my musical theatre days - he is indeed a man of many talents and passions. Today he is my guide to what he describes as the Onepu Project, a collective of activities and experiences in a village just 20 minutes from Whakatane. It’s a place us Eastern Bay locals should know about, or maybe we do and don’t use because of the perceived inconvenience of getting out there. Some people in cities sit in traffic longer every day, I feel pretty lucky to be living here.
I had stumbled upon the Karaponga Reserve when I bumped into a local walking her dog at the Onepu MTB Park. She saw that I was interested in photography and said that the waterfall and hydro-dam walks were a must, especially since they were just down the road. For dog lovers, the Karaponga Reserve is dog friendly. Bill’s dog Lucy took great joy leading us to the waterfall, and I could tell she had been here many times before.
After my morning walk at Karaponga, I’m excited to see this place as it develops over the coming years. Development doesn’t have to have the dirty connotation of commercial agendas - for I see Onepu’s activities enrich our appreciation of the natural beauty of the outdoors. This will require ongoing education and respect of this place. Public spaces - be it urban or rural, require the patience and passions of locals to maintain its beauty and culture.