Firmly Anchored

In the legend of Maui and the giant fish, young Maui goes fishing with his older brothers in their waka (canoe) and when he drops his magic fishhook he fishes up a great fish that becomes the North Island of New Zealand. The waka is the South Island and Stewart Island (Rakiura) is the anchor stone for the waka.

The original name for Stewart Island in Maori lore is Te Punga o te Waka a Maui, translated as ‘The Anchor of Maui’s Canoe’ — from Stewart Island.

At Stirling Point I showed you in yesterday’s post the famous signpost. Today I’ll show you the giant anchor chain installation by the late Russell Beck. He also did a similar sculpture at Lee Bay, Rakiura  …SO…  Te Waipounamu (the South Island) is symbolically linked with Rakiura (Stewart Island) through these sculptures!

Anchor Chain Installation, Stirling Point

Bluff, Southland, New Zealand

Nigel took a great overview shot here. I’m down below in the chain getting my photos and to the far right is the famous signpost.


View from the top of the chain, small islands out at sea. (Nigel)


Looking through the chain toward Stirling Point Lighthouse. (Liz)


Similar view but looking a little further out to sea. (Liz)


Looking in the direction of the carpark. (Liz)


The chain disappears downwards; Nigel’s photo first. Last photo by Liz



Text by Liz, Photos by Liz and Nigel; Exploring Colour (2018)

32 thoughts on “Firmly Anchored

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    1. Funny you should ask as I’m seriously considering starting a course in the Maori language. But I might settle for some self-directed learning first, especially learning the stories and legends – which I love. The culture in NZ has changed and there’s a lot of support and encouragement now to use the Maori language even if you only know a little bit.

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            1. Impressive Tanja! I only speak English and it seems pathetic to only speak one. In high school we had to choose between a language and typing. Of course I did typing and I have to say its served me well over the years but what a restrictive choice. I lived in a depressed region that struggled to get teachers so options were limited, its just the way it was! About 12 years ago I tried to learn Italian at night classes but I got too tired working full-time and trying to learn, physically I just couldn’t hack it. I appreciate the great value of language skills though.

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              1. Growing up in Germany, there was great emphasis on foreign languages and I benefited from that system. I also started with Russian and Spanish, but didn’t get very far, unfortunately.
                It is never too late, but it gets more difficult the older we are. Trying to take evening classes after a full day of work is tough. Maybe it will be easier for you now to learn Maori.

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            1. You’re writing your story aren’t you FlowerAlley, I’m sure you mentioned it. I get the feeling you’ve had to face very intense challenges. May you find strength and comfort, and a calm mooring.


      1. I think pretty much everyone I know, thinks NZ is a wonderful place. People in my family, and a friend from college, have visited, and loved it there. And the part of New York, where I grew up, is mostly cows, corn, and soybeans, nice enough, but not very exciting!

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