From January 26th to 29th, we went to see Cécile and Julien at Ngunguru, where they lived.
We spend a few days together, went for a walk near Matapouri (‘Mermaid Pools’) and went to the Whangarei falls, then celebrated Cécile and Julien’s life change.
The islands were earlier inhabited by Māori of the Ngāti Wai tribe who grew crops and fished the surrounding sea. The tribe traded with other Maori.
A chief of the tribe named Tatua led his warriors on a fighting expedition to the Hauraki Gulf with Ngā Puhi chief Hongi Hika in the early 1820s. While they were away, a slave escaped the islands and travelled to Hokianga where he told Waikato, a chief of the Hikutu tribe, that the islands had been left undefended. As Waikato had been offended by Tatua some years previous, he and his warriors set out on three large canoes to attack the islands. They arrived at the islands one night in December 1823 and soon overpowered the islanders in the absence of their warriors. Many islanders jumped off the high cliffs to avoid being taken as slaves. Tatua’s wife and daughter were captured and taken to the mainland where a distant relative recognised the wife and helped the two to escape.
Tatua returned to the islands to find a scene of destruction. Only nine or ten people were left on the islands, including his five year old son who had been hidden in a cave during the attack. The islands were declared holy and Tatua left with the survivors and went to Rawhiti in the Bay of Islands where he unexpectedly found his wife and daughter.
Nowadays, these islands became a nature reserve and a really good spot for diving.