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And what of pronunciation? Driving on D'urville is not for the faint-hearted. We are only two hours from Nelson, and we can get a helicopter in cases of emergencies and acci­dents.”. And I cer­tainly don’t think we are isolated now. I feel privi­leged and proud to live here.”, Young families are rare on the island now, and Gill is one of only two mothers teaching her children by Correspondence School. Islanders well realise that with a decline in population and in their economic base from the heady days of farming, felling, fishing and mill­ing, then some further development needs to take place if services are to be maintained and remain afford­able. But now I wouldn’t hand over the primary schooling to any­one, particularly because the children enjoy it and do so well.”, Life for her three children is dif­ferent from her own upbringing at Owhai. But things get even worse. It costs about $3 per lamb and $13 per calf to transport stock to Havelock, making d’Urville one of the most expensive places in the country to farm, in terms of freight. When the officers of Astrolabe suggested that the island be named after their captain, he agreed, but only “until such time as the name given to it by its inhabitants be discovered”. The plan was ambitious: to strike at the very heart of the Napoleonic chief’s stronghold on Kapiti Island. It is a pride born of hard-won toil, and of resilience in the face of isolation, economic change, and often diaboli­cal weather. “Besides, I don’t like town. Te Rauparaha’s forays south had wreaked bloody havoc amongst the Rangitane of the Marlborough Sounds. “We love the bush and have always liked the rugged life and adventuring spirit. Cyclone Bola was so bad that they almost lost their house. Colour photograph shows the loading of sheep from the same place-the beach below the Moletas' farm at Waitai half a century later. “I’ve never had a day off in my working life due to sickness,” says this spry 62-year-old. Also, the type of fishing that I do here attracts me—it’s real fishing, work­ing a small boat around the coast. Tutepourangi, the paramount chief of d’Urville Island’s Ngati Kuia, was at the forefront of the dawn raid on Waioroa, on north­ern Kapiti. Unlimited access to every NZGeo story ever written and hundreds of hours of natural history documentaries on all your devices. The peninsula winding its way out to an isolated island with real whirlpools in between is certainly a wild and remote part of New Zealand that, if travelled to, rewards you with epic uncrowded scenery. They are just as strong as the southerlies.” Some days, Bob says, the winds are so strong that the stock have trouble keeping on their feet. Maori occupancy of the Marlborough Sounds stretches back over a thousand years. They had emigrated from Stromboli, a waterless active island volcano north of Sicily, six years earlier. Reflecting mid-morning sunlight still makes some of the protruding headstones appear to twinkle. Moorings . The eldest sons of both families died young—cruel blows that were magnified by the isolation. One d’Urville resident who is no stranger to isolation is Ross Webber. There are rewards, how­ever: the stock is largely disease-free, and the mild climate permits year-round grass growth. Her family ran the property at the time, and, together, they came to live there 17 years ago. Typically, this was Petone, Lyttelton or Wanganui. Around the turn of the century, a wave of interest and speculation from farm­ers, fishermen and Wellington entre­preneurs saw land reach up to three pounds an acre—more highly priced than many North Island areas. But, more than geography, it has been the indomita­ble independence and self-suffi­ciency of its inhabitants over the past 100 years that has enabled d’Urville to keep its distance from mainland New Zealand. Right at the bottom of D'urville, off the green grassed slopes of Ohana, Hautai Island was long used as a cemetery island by local Maori. By 1824, the surviving remnants were determined to rid themselves of this scourge, and formed an alliance with nearby tribes to annihilate the despised foreigners from the north. Subsequent court orders ensured that some of the Maori owners could not sell their land, a measure which has resulted in continued Maori ownership of several large tracts on the island to this day. These days he runs just 80 sheep, and plans to fence off the ends of the island to allow regeneration of na­tive bush. In that regard, d’Urville Is­land has seen better times. Argillite quarries, with disused rock flakes still littering the area, are readily visible on the island, and adzes like the three-faceted model shown above (actual size) still turn lip in farmers' paddocks. Previously, Ross had a diesel gen­erator, and later experimented with home-made windmills, but now re­lies on a solar panel for his electrical needs. The adze was then ground on a slab of wetted sandstone to give it an edge. D'Urville Island Wilderness Resort located in Catherine Cove. The isolation also leads to extra ex­pense when hiring seasonal labour or doing topdressing, and there are high maintenance demands, with a continuous battle being fought against rust on both machinery and fencing. Gone is the typical Sounds sprawl of nets, fishing baskets, upturned dinghies and rusting tin sheds spreading down towards the sea. The traditional problem has been how to get farm stock and produce from the island to the sale yards and markets of mainland New Zealand. The Aplins’ is an adaptation par excellence to island life, but then, they were also supremely well-pre­pared. Until his kiln col­lapsed a few years ago, he even made his own pottery. six days a week. The Moleta farm is named Waitai, literally meaning “water salt”—a di­rect reference to the wild con­ditions that often envelop this part of the island. The nineteenth century heralded further, dramatic changes. Only two of d’Urville’s fishermen work the island now, whereas there used to be up to 16 boats. It could be said the modern world really arrived though on D'urville with the switch on to mains power on 20 April 1975. Photographed by Arno Gasteiger. The D'Urville Island scenic reserve looks out across Greville Harbour. Puangiangi Island, a narrow back­bone of hills rising sharply out of the sea one kilometre off the north­eastern coast of d’Urville Island, was not quite what he had imagined. Wool would also be floated out by dinghy or punt, and then hoisted aboard by derricks. It is a kilometre of “seething sheets” of water in which “whirlpools of in­credible violence” occur, as the French admiral Jules Sebastian Cesar Dumont d’Urville and the crew of his corvette Astrolabe found out in January 1827. The more active can bike the downhill track to the resort from the Islands main road. Of her nine children, only her youngest son, Craig, has chosen to live on the island—as much out of devotion to the sea as for any other reason. At other locations, the ships would anchor off the beach and the sheep would be loaded on to a punt and then floated out along­side; a ramp would be lowered and the sheep would walk up that. (At that time, Italian migrants were obliged to undertake a compulsory two-year stint in the armed serv­ices.)

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