Splendid Isolation – 35

East Takaka Church, watercolour sketch
East Takaka Church, watercolour sketch
East Takaka church

This little church was built in 1868. It sits bravely under the densely forested hills of the Pikikiruna range that rise steeply in front of it from the wide, flat Takaka valley floor.

The church was built by some of the earliest settlers and some lie in the peaceful burial ground around the church. The site resonates with the determination and perseverance of those who came here to make a new life, overcoming all manner of difficulties.

Nearby is the site of the terminus of the Takaka tramway, built to connect East Takaka with the small port of Waitapu, 13km away. There was one locomotive, ‘Pioneer’ that ran twice daily on the line. Everything is now gone except for a few remaining raised embankments along the route and a short section of the track displayed in the town. Photographs of the old terminus show crowds gathered for an event, the men wearing boaters and the women in their finery. All very different from the quiet rural scenery around the area today.

We are expecting an announcement today (Monday 11th) about a reduction in the lockdown to Level 2 which begins a return to a kind of normality. Businesses and shops may re-open, travel and small gatherings are allowed but social distancing remains in place. While Ireland retains its quarantine measures however, we need to stay here.

Other than that, it has been a difficult week, but difficulties can be overcome in time.


  1. adrianrthomasgmailcom

    Looks and sounds lovely Peter. I think I’d hang on there as long as you can – the idea of flying with a face mask for 24hrs doesn’t appeal – you’d could sip wine through a straw but eating is a bigger problem.

    Besides – we’re all enjoying your lovely daily sketches and historical commentary :)

    1. Peter Clarke

      Thanks. Yes, the prospect of mask and gloves for an extended time is not appealing! We are hoping Singapore opens for transit passengers as we have credits for that route, although Air NZ may never resume it.

  2. Finola

    I was hoping for a sketch of this once I had seen Freespiral’s photograph. Itching for a browse around a good graveyard.

Leave a Reply