A trip for an appointment for my Mum last week had us dropping in at the small township of Waipu on the way home. For years the main state highway would wind its way through that iconic township before straightening out once more for the final leg to Whangarei.
Years ago now, we would head to Marsden Point and stay with our relatives. My cousins still work at the Oil Refinery there, years after their father passed on, when he too, also worked at Marsden Point. Sometimes generations carry on the traditions of their forefathers.
Waipu has a strong Scottish heritage. Every year they have the Highland Games where thousands flock to watch an old tradition come to life for another year. In my own ancestry we have Scottish descent. A great great Grandfather was a sheep farmer in the Ayrshire region, living the hard life many then lived. He tended his sheep, and later on his sons came to New Zealand.
Once the highway wound past the great World War One monument topped with a rearing lion - it was always the cause for talk when we were kids. Years on the government shifted the highway and now Waipu township is bypassed by those heading for the main centre or further north for the tourist destinations of the Bay of Islands and the Far North.
It's worth stopping though to take a bit of time and check out the murals painted on the sides of the buildings. Lack of time meant I could only photograph just one mural - yet it reflects the strong settler history of the area. The piper plays his bagpipes while the settlers get on with the day to day tasks of surviving a harsh new country far from home. Beyond that a depiction of the stone walls that now dominate the landscape. Decades on those walls are still standing used to keep in livestock on the farms around the area. One thing about it Waipu is a great place. They also have a museum there, which when I get a chance I'll go and visit sometime. Overall we had a bit of fun even though it was just a brief stopover for lunch. Looking forward to the next visit.