A revisit to Tanoa and Batley on Monday

 Having my long time friend Lisa come up and stay a few days was  a welcome change from the usual insanity that goes on around here on the farm. The weather spoilt things a little but yesterday at last we did manage to get out and take a brief sojourn down to Tanoa, and afterwards around to Batley.

The Gittos Church in 2010 before restoration

I was aware sometime back that the former Gittos Church down at Tanoa had been restored by the local Iwi. Last time Lisa and I had been down there the church was still in a state of disrepair. On this visit, the little church sitting alongside the shores of the Otamatea River is now pristine. Sympathetic restoration has transformed the 1874 constructed building into something very beautiful. The interior has been completely cleaned and the broken windows that once left the inside open to the elements have now been replaced. A lock has been put on the doors into the church which will protect it from vandals.

The church after restoration (2012)

The old rusted rain water tank has been replaced by a modern plastic one

Coloured glass now floods the interior with beautiful rainbow hues

Overgrowth has been cleared away from the historic cemetery that surrounds the church

Batley House

We left Tanoa and took the short drive around the bay to Batley. On the shores of the Otamatea River the grand old house, currently owned by Rex and Rae Roadley, is an iconic reminder of past history. It was here Joseph Masefield set up the Otamatea Hotel, raised a family including a couple of sets of twins. He lost three children in a drowning accident. After his death he was buried at  the Tanoa cemetery. The house has seen many changes since its more humble beginnings when Masefield was running his store in the late 1850's. For a long time he was the only port of call in this part of the eastern Kaipara Harbour before development began to take hold. The bay was originally called Oahau. The name was changed to Batley by William Colbeck ("Captain Colbeck") who was a native of Batley, Yorkshire, England. Colebeck purchased the land surrounding the area and on the shores developed a steam powered flour mill, and a fish canning factory. The buildings have long since vanished, and now the bay is quieter.

On the point where once a great long wharf used to reside, one of the locals was sat with a snapper rod waiting for a bite. Now and then I have got down with the surf caster and not really caught anything more than a bit of seaweed or a sprat or two.


Walking further around the point old pilings still resist the action of the tide, oysters have quickly made use of the man made structure to colonise and establish over several decades. The old fence was probably used to prevent stock from getting around the point I'd have to ask Rex and Rae about that since they know the rich history of the Roadley family farm very well. Nearby just off the beach is an oyster lease.

I found a Catseye snail while we were fossicking around and taking photos. I'm concerned at how few there were to be found. Over the years around our coasts people have been taking them as food. Unfortunately it has also decimated the overall population. If you see them, look but don't take away. I photographed the one I found then carefully placed it back where I had found it. Batley is a wonderful bay. The two old boat sheds make for a great camera shot.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing Liz. I learned a little more about the local history - I didn't know how Batley got its name.
    Nice to see the old church renovated and preserved.