Thursday, June 18, 2009

2009. Mulgans Track and Aranoni Track, Clifton and Sumner

2009. Moncks Bay, Avon-Heathcote Estuary, Christchurch

I parked my car beside Main Road by Moncks Bay near Avon- Heathcote Estuary mouth, as I wanted to walk up Mulgans Track, go over the top of Clifton Hill and walk down Aranoni Track to Sumner. The Sumner / Redcliffs Rowing Club old wooden shed stood on posts above the water. The shed was later owned by Christchurch Yacht Club. A roadside info board gave the history:


The Sumner Amateur Rowing club (later Redcliffs Rowing Club) was formed in 1909. The building was built from wood from old Burns Jetty which stood near Shag rock in 1912.

During World War 11 because the men were away overseas the Club went into recess and the Sumner Borough Council used it as Morgue No 2 in case of the arrival of the Japanese.

Later when Kerrs Reach was constructed the club folded and the building was finally bought by Christchurch Yacht Club." (CCC)

After the 13.06.11 earthquake, the Rowing Club shed was demolished, as it had quake-tilted towards the estuary.

2009. Rowing Club Info Board, Main Road, Moncks Bay, Christchurch

2009. Start of Mulgans Track, Main Road, Christchurch

I crossed Main Road, and by a cliff-front house I began the steep climb up tarsealed Mulgans Track. I passed iceplants, cotyledons, geraniums and echiums on the north-facing cliff, while zigzagging up, reminding me of Flowers Track and Edwin Mouldey Track on Scarborough.

Going up, I had spectacular views of Barnett Park, Moncks Spur, Mount Pleasant, Redcliffs and moored yachts in Moncks Bay.

2009. Mulgans Track view of Main Road, Moncks Bay, Avon- Heathcote Estuary & Redcliffs, Christchurch

2009. Mulgans Track view towards Barnett Park, Port Hills, Christchurch

2009. Kinsey Terrace view of Moncks Bay, Redcliffs, Avon-Heathcote Estuary, Canterbury Plains & Southern Alps

2009. Kinsey Terrace view of Avon-Heathcote Estuary, Canterbury Plains & Southern Alps

2009. Kinsey Terrace view of Moncks Bay, Redcliffs, Moncks Spur & Mount Pleasant, Christchurch

2009. Kinsey Terrace view of Avon-Heathcote Estuary, Southshore Spit, Redcliffs, Canterbury Plains & Southern Alps

At the top of Mulgans Track I walked up Kinsey Terrace a bit while admiring views over rooftops of Avon-Heathcote Estuary, Southshore Spit and beyond to Canterbury Plains and snowy Alps. Kinsey Terrace was badly damaged during 2010-2011 earthquakes.

I turned right up a steep tarsealed right-of-way between houses, and slogged straight up till I came to Tuawera Terrace. (Also badly damaged during 2010-2011 quakes).

2009. Right-of-Way below Kinsey Terrace view of Southshore Spit, Avon-Heathcote Estuary, Christchurch

2009. Tuawera Terrace view of Avon-Heathcote Estuary, Canterbury Plains & Southern Alps

Like Kinsey Terrace, Tuawera Terrace went over the top of Clifton Hill and down the other side to Clifton Terrace. I admired views of Sumner Beach, Cave Rock, Sumner Esplanade and Scarborough.

Sumner was badly damaged by the 22.02.11 earthquake. During the 13.06.11 quake, at the end of Scarborough, a large chunk of sea cliff fell from Whitewash Head into the Pacific, thus changing Whitewash Head Track. Scarborough end tracks were fence cordon closed for months.

2009. Tuawera Terrace view of Cave Rock, Sumner Esplanade & Scarborough

2009. Top of Aranoni Track with Cave Rock backdrop, Sumner, Christchurch

2009. Aranoni Track view of Sumner beachfront, Cave Rock & Pacific Ocean

2009. Lower Aranoni Track view of Nayland Street, Sumner & Scarborough

I crossed Clifton Terrace and went down Aranoni Track towards Sumner. Aranoni Track had wooden, tarsealed and concrete steps. I zigzagged down with glimpses of Cave Rock and Sumner through shrubs and trees.

2009. Nayland Street view of start of Aranoni Track up Clifton Hill. See bolted rocks above garage, left.

Clifton Hill was so steep, I watched a workman riding up to a house in a small gondola from Nayland Street. I walked along Nayland Street, and looked at cliff faces above garages and flats, protected by thick wire-mesh bolted against the cliffs. I thought building and living below a bolted cliff was insane, due to cold, water and falling rock hazards.

During the 22.02.11 quake, tons of rock fell on Sumner, destroying a Returned Servicemen building, crunching newly built wooden housing there. Several houses and cottages were closed due to falling rocks hazard. During subsequent quakes, a shipping container cordon lined Wakefield Ave, protecting buildings and people from rockfalls.

Post quakes, on the other side of Sumner, Heberden Ave had several shipping container cordons below Scarborough bluffs. For months during aftershocks, huge rocks fell on Wakefield Ave from Richmond Hill bluffs and on Heberden Ave from Scarborough bluffs.

2009. Nayland Street, Sumner view of Clifton Hill, Christchurch. Nayland Street buildings were damaged by the 22.02.11 and 13.06.11 quakes

I strolled to the old Sumner Borough Council Chambers on the corner of Nayland Street and Wakefield Avenue, where I snapped the WW1 grey granite war memorial embedded in the wall.

Old, brick Sumner Borough Council Chambers was trashed by the 22.02.11 quake and demolished after the 13.06.11 quake.

2009. WW1 Memorial on Sumner Borough Council Chambers wall, Nayland Street & Wakefield Avenue corner, Christchurch. The bldg was trashed by the 22.02.11 quake and demolished

2009. Sumner Coronation Garden, Main Road, Sumner, Christchurch

At Clifton Bay, I stopped at Sumner Coronation Garden opposite Sumner beach to look at pohutukawas, palms, yuccas and Natal aloes. At the back of the garden a lamp memorial had a grey granite plaque stating:


2009. Coronation Memorial to "Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 11," Coronation Garden, Clifton Bay, Sumner, Christchurch. The 22.02.11 quake trashed Clifton Bay garden walls

A garden info board told of early Sumner:


Sumner was surveyed as a suitable access port for the new city of Christchurch. On this spot the first buildings were erected in anticipation of the arrival of the Canterbury Association settlers in 1850.

... In late 1849 a store was built here for the Canterbury Association to house goods in transit from Lyttelton to the city site.


Like most successful pioneers, the first permanent resident in Sumner in 1849, George Day, could turn his hand to anything.

Goods shipped by Day in his 10-ton schooner Flirt, here to Clifton Bay from Banks Peninsular included timber for the Christchurch barracks and the first government buildings. He supervised North Island Maori labourers working on the road from Lyttelton to Sumner and became the first publican in Sumner.

In 1854 Day bought the Canterbury Association store and converted it into a hotel. A landmark here for many years, it became known as Days Hotel.

2009. Sumner History Info board, Sumner Coronation Garden, Clifton Bay, Christchurch


Crossing the Sumner bar proved treacherous. The first recorded mishap involved three notable pioneer families.

In 1845, the Gebbies and Mansons set off from Deans farm at Riccarton to take up land at the head of Lyttelton harbour. In rough seas the men offloaded the women and children on the beach here to spend a cold night in a nearby cave. The men set off across the bar, but the boat capsized. They all survived although William Deans reached shore only by clinging to a box of tea.

Despite the difficulties, until the railway linking Lyttelton and Christchurch was completed in 1867 all heavy goods were landed here then shipped across the bar to the Avon or Heathcote rivers." (CCC)

2009. Clifton Hill Sea Cliff, Main Road, Sumner. The 22.02.11 quake caused rockfalls from Clifton Hill Sea Cliff. Along Main Road, for months shipping containers cordoned the cliff base, after 22.02.11 and 13.06.11 quakes

I walked along Main Road with Sumner beach on my right and volcanic layers of Clifton sea cliff on my left. I walked past Gallons Point Cave and watched pigeons roosting on the sea cliff. Cars, walkers and cyclists passed me by.

The 22.02.11 quake caused tons of rock to fall off the sea cliff. After the quake, by Avon- Heathcote Estuary mouth, near Shag Rock two layers of roadside shipping containers protected traffic from falling rocks for months.

2009. Hazard Signs, Shag Rock, Avon-Heathcote Estuary Mouth, Main Road, Christchurch. The 04.09.10 quake, 22.02.11 quake and 13.06.11 quake shattered and crumbled Shag Rock

On the roadside by Shag Rock, signs warned about strong currents, inshore holes, submerged rocks and falling rocks, as Main Road turned sharply round Clifton sea cliff by Avon-Heathcote Estuary mouth towards Moncks Bay.

I stopped and watched walkers on the beach by Shag Rock, and read a roadside info board about Maori settlements, fishing and Shag Rock:


Early Waitaha had two main settlements near this estuary. They lived here year-round, taking advantage of the plentiful supply of eels, fish and shellfish.

When Europeans arrived Ngai Tahu no longer lived here, but still regularly visited their traditional food gathering sites.

2009. Info Board: Ancient Maori Fishing, Settlements & Rapanui, near Shag Rock, Main Road, Christchurch


From the arrival of the first people, the waters and mudflats of this estuary have provided many foods.


Fishing grounds for flounder stretch across the mudflats from Redcliffs... their name Wai-pataki.

In early times Ngai Tahu waded the shallow water to fish for pataki by torchlight, using pronged wooden spears... In the right season, they caught the fish in kaka nets of woven flax.

Dried pataki were stored for winter and exchanged with other settlements. Hung on racks, the rows of drying fish were protected by a rough roof of raupo or flax.

2009. Shag Rock, Avon-Heathcote Estuary Mouth, Main Road, Christchurch. The 04.09.10 quake, 22.02.11 quake and 13.06.11 quake shattered and crumbled Shag Rock


This striking column of rock guarding the entrance to the estuary is one of the oldest landmarks in Canterbury. Its ancient name Rapanui likens the rock to the sternpost of a canoe." (CCC)

The 04.09.10 quake, 22.02.11 quake & 13.06.11 quake shattered and crumbled Shag Rock.

2009. Rapanui - Shag Rock, Avon-Heathcote Estuary Mouth, Main Road, Christchurch. The 04.09.10 quake, 22.02.11 quake & 13.06.11 quake shattered and crumbled Shag Rock

Given sewage and other estuary pollution, I doubted flounders were caught in Avon-Heathcote Estuary in 2009. Only flounders were idiots allowing pollution to happen. I looked across Avon-Heathcote Estuary towards Bromley sewage farm and thought of Shelley's words:

"My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!"

Although Christchurch City Council claimed that water flushing from Bromley sewage farm into the estuary was clean, I wondered why it was necessary in 2008 for CCC to build a pipe to flush sewage directly into the Pacific? I though of all the waterbirds crapping in the estuary, and all the horse, cow and sheep dung flushed into the estuary by streams I'd crossed in Port Hills valleys. I thought kayakers paddling Christchurch rivers and Avon-Heathcote estuary would get the shits.

With wintry Pacific winds on my back, I returned to my car, enjoying views of Moncks Bay, Avon-Heathcote Estuary, Port Hills, Canterbury Plains and Southern Alps. The circuit walk took me 1 hour 45 minutes, with many stops.

Coda: In April 2010 Christchurch City Council's "our christchurch" journal rejoiced at opening the Council's Ocean Outfall pipe, which flushed Christchurch sewage into the Pacific:

"Christchurch's biggest construction project to date - the $87.2 million Ocean Outfall pipeline - is now in operation after a community opening ceremony in March." With Christchurch city sewage flushed into the Pacific, I wondered what effect it would have on coastline ecology northwards to Brooklands Lagoon, Waimakariri River, Ashley River and Pegasus Bay, and southwards to Lyttleton Harbour, Port Levy and Banks Peninsula?

The 2010-2011 Christchurch quakes caused huge damage to Christchurch sewage system, at Bromley sewage ponds and especially eastern suburbs. Thousands of quake damaged houses were red zone condemned and abandoned.

It would take years to fix Christchurch sewage system. Months after the quakes, sucker trucks from all over NZ roamed Christchurch, sucking & unblocking drains & sewage pipes.

One sucker truck I saw in Bexley had the tanker logo: YOU POO WE SUCK. Another sucker truck, regularly parked on Geraldine St, had a SLURP registration plate.

For months after after the quakes, Avon River and Heathcote River were used as open sewers to relieve Christchurch's quake trashed sewage system. It would take years to clean sewage polluted Avon-Heathcote Estuary. So much for Clean Green NZ.

Content & pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

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