Much of Stewart Island (Rakiura) is now part of Rakiura National Park. These are the bare granite rocks of Bald Cone, looking over the deeply indented bays of Port Pegasus (Pikihatiti).
Fleur Adcock recalled the loneliness of the remote island in a 1971 poem.
‘But look at all this beauty’
said the hotel manager’s wife
when asked how she could bear to
live there. True: there was a fine bay,
all hills and atmosphere; white
sand, and bush down to the sea’s edge;
oyster-boats, too, and Maori
fishermen with Scottish names (she
ran off with one that autumn).
As for me, I walked on the beach;
it was too cold to swim. My
seven-year-old collected shells
and was bitten by sandflies;
my four-year-old paddled, until
a mad seagull jetted down
to jab its claws and beak into
his head. I had already
decided to leave the country.
Fleur Adcock, Poems, 1960–2000. Newcastle upon Tyne: Bloodaxe, 2000. Permission to reproduce poem courtesy of Fleur Adcock.
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Department of Conservation
Photograph by Greg Lind
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