Mokotahi, Mahia Beach

Mokotahi prelim sketch

Here’s 7 pics of Mahia Beach and Mokotahi hill above it. Mokotahi started life as an island, you see layers of shells as you go up, then was a pa (fortified village) site, then a whaler’s lookout in the 1820-30s and is now National Trust land. I’ve walked up it 2-4 times a year since the early 80s (also occasionally from the early 70s when my parents built a bach across at Mahanga Beach).

The main image is from a mid-2013 phase of quick practice paintings, acrylics on coarse hessian, approx 500x600mm – throwaways, except that I’ve kept them. The 2nd image is acrylics on canvas, 12″x12″. And the pencil sketch as the starting point for both.

Mokotahi can mean “first grandchild” in te Reo. It was the name locals gave to a very sociable dolphin which adopted the bay in 2007ish(?). Many of us got to swim with it just off the beach, which was very cool (you can tell when large dolphin schools are about – the fish go elsewhere!). It ended up 100 km away in Gisborne – supposedly a fishing boat guided it there, all the way round the Peninsula,  with a lure or bell on the back (tourism politics?) – then. ditto it seems, to the Bay of Plenty where it beached on Matakana Island, sadly . And that’s my story. 

And at Easter 2018, our Prime Minister and her man got engaged on the top of Mokotahi, 1 security guy, 2 onlookers and a dog (only 1?) as witnesses. 

4 more below;                                                                                                                                    1st, Mokotahi the House at Mahia Beach, ink on paper in the manner of Aubrey Beardsley – an old boatshed or perhaps stables on the foreshore, now a bach and summer rental.                            2nd, a fisheye view of Mahia Beach from Mokotahi with Mahanga Beach to the left and Mahia Peninsula on the right.                                                                                                                      3rd, a (badly photographed – the same ochre but blunted) view of Mokotahi from the hill above Mahanga Beach – both are acrylics on board about 20″x14″.                                                            4th, the Road to Mahia (from Mahanga), Mokotahi in the background, oils on canvas 12″x12″. 


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