Thursday, 22 November 2012

Cable Bay - Rotokura

Bringing Communication To NZ

Cable Bay got its name from the first cable to connect NZ to the outside world. Until the 1800s there was no easy way to connect this isolated area to the rest of the world., then in the late 1800s a cable was laid connecting the North Island to the South Island, Australia, and eventually to the rest of the world. A telegraph company was established here in 1876, which enabled business in this part of the world to flourish. Communication now took only four days instead of the previous six months for letters to arrive by sea.

Cable Bay

Previously the area was known by the Maori as Rotokura, which translates as Red Water and refers to the red reefs off shore. The Maori still live within this area but are now superceeded by the many immigrants and early settlers.

This area is now a small settlement and nature reserve with a stunning sheltered and shingle beach. It is fairly isolated yet ony twenty miles from the city of Nelson. There is an extensive area of natural bush land still owned by the Maoris and also a large Maori burial site across the bay from Pepin Island. There is also a three hour walkway for tramping, and a marine site for snorkeling and kayaking and a magical nature reserve. A few farms dot the surrounding hillside with only a narrow winding hillside road connecting them to civilization, there being no shops or anything else in the vicinity.

Looking down on super beach

I love this place with its clear blue waters, seals, dolphins and birds and with beautiful gorse and wild flowers along the way. It is quite common to be the only person on the beach.

Across to Pepin Island

Blue seas

Blue skies

Native vegetation

Map via google

Superb isolated spot

The Maoris now know this area as Wakapuaka and the road leading to the bay is now noted as Wakapuaka Road, although I am told that early settlers, finding the Maori language rather difficult, locally called the area Hokeypokey ... a name still remembered with New Zealands favourite ice cream, vanilla with honeycomb broken throughout.

Via NZ foods

Hokey Pokey The Easy Way
  • 5 TBS sugar
  • 2 TBS golden syrup
  • 1 tsp baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
  • Vanilla ice cream

Bring sugar and golden syrup to the boil slowly in a large heavy saucepan, stirring all the time as it will burn easily.
After it starts to foam up, simmer gently over a very low heat for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally and still watching it carefully.
Remove from heat and add baking soda quickly until it foams up and pour at once into a greased pan or onto a piece of aluminium foil with the edges turned up.

Break it into bits when cold and store in air-tight jars.
Be sure to save all the crumbles so that you can top your ice cream with them to make Hokey Pokey Ice-cream.



  1. Looks like another rather idyllic location! Be glad you're there with the sun, we're currently growing gills...

  2. If I run down to Porthcurno the cable comes ashore there and if I pull it you might feel it! Amazing technology for the time. I love Roskillys Hokey Pokey.... But I never knew why it was called that yummy!

  3. How beautiful. Thank you for the historical guided tour and the photos x x


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