Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

New Zealand: my first substantial sand dunes

with 10 comments

On our way to Tāne Mahuta on February 12th (which schoolchildren in the United States once knew as Lincoln’s Birthday), we drove along S.H. 12 through Opononi and nearby Omapere. The road in that area followed the southern shore of Hokianga Harbour, and as we approached the Tasman Sea I saw on the other side of the esturary the first substantial sand dunes of the trip. Unfortunately there was no easy way to get to them, and contact with large dunes would have to wait a couple of days.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 30, 2017 at 5:02 AM

10 Responses

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  1. Looking at the map always is instructive. It’s fun to see names like “New Plymouth” and “Thames” alongside Māori names. Even though I read “substantial sand dunes” in your post’s email. I wasn’t prepared for this. Apart from size, the golden sand and cobalt water is a beautiful combination.


    March 30, 2017 at 7:31 AM

    • You’ve reminded me of the situation on Long Island, where I grew up. Not sand dunes (though there are some), but Indian names like Yaphank, Setauket, Patchogue, Amagansett, Tuckahoe, Connetquot, Sagaponack, Wantagh, Ronkonkoma, Happaugue, Wyandanch, Commack, Mattituck, Quogue. I imagine the original pronunciations were rather different, too hard in some cases for English speakers to pronounce. The phonetic structure of Māori is such that consonants and vowels usually alternate, so words are generally easy for an English speaker to pronounce. As a result, the English spelling of Māori names is probably reasonably accurate. That said, the typical New Zealand English pronunciation of the word Māori sounds to an American as if it’s Mary.

      The only other person ever to use the word cobalt in a comment here is an artist.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 30, 2017 at 8:20 AM

  2. […] February 12, after driving a few minutes west from the site where I took the picture of sand dunes that you saw last time (and you can still see them in the background this time), I came to the […]

  3. That would be a fun wander looking for images. White Sands meet Golden Sands. Is the sand naturally golden or was the light warming it up?

    Steve Gingold

    April 1, 2017 at 9:29 AM

    • I think that’s the natural color, though I never got to those dunes. I did make it to others that were similarly colored. I can also confirm that some beaches in NZ have light sand and others dark sand.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 1, 2017 at 9:38 AM

  4. […] February 12th we saw but couldn’t get to some large sand dunes on the opposite side of an estuary from the highway we were on. Two days later on our way to the […]

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