On Saturday 3 December, a group of 19 Masterton Tramping Club members, partners and friends travelled to Mana Island. We were taken in a launch from Mana Marina to the island. This was part of the fun as it was a pristine day and we could see our destination getting closer and closer for most of the trip.
When we reached Mana Island, we were greeted by the ranger who welcomed us and gave us a few tips about keeping the island rodent and weed seed free. We had already checked our packs and bags at the marina as one of our Members, Jason Christensen, was a ranger on the island for twelve years and not only organised the trip but also had us well prepped.
We had a bit of a break then and explored the woolshed before beginning our walk. Jason led us up Tirohanga Track. A new self-guided walk has been initiated so Jason was able to give us pamphlets about this and the option of being our own tour guides. There are numbered markers along the route and we were lucky enough to have Jason stop at each peg and explain the significance of the area.
These numbered pegs indicated everything from lizard colonies to historical landmarks and Jason was a mine of information. Julie found a lizard on the track as we walked and Jason was able to tell us the history of the McGregor skink on the island.
After lunch, we continued our circumnavigation of the island. Coming down the track, we could hear the Ngatitoa Taiaha Wananga taking place in the clearing near where the whare of Rangihaeata once stood. Jason also told us about Maori occupation of the Island, the tangata whenua and their involvement with the conservancy.