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The Gap

Posted by SCe Comments Off on The Gap

The Gap and Blue Pool at low tide

The Gap is a low point between Taitomo Island and cliffs where waves come crashing through, providing a spectacular sight in big surf. At low tide a pool is created called the Blue Pool, a favourite place for children and adults to swim and as the tide comes in, to be buffeted by surges of water.

In recent years, the Blue Pool has dwindled in size with sand build up.

The Gap is reached either by the coast at low tide or by walking over the Tasman Lookout Track which is started from the south end of Piha Beach. There are awe-inspiring views over Piha, up the coast and over Puaotetai Bay and The Gap.

Approaching The Gap from Puaotetai Bay

The Gap can be reached at low tide by walking over the rocks at the south end of the beach, or even on very low tides along the sand.

The Gap, 1940s, with Phillipsons’ shop

The little beach behind it was called historically Blowhole Bay, though that name is not now used. The Blowhole referred to is a short walk south, but it is on private property. Blowhole Bay was where tourists originally came when visiting Piha, as it was easier to access than Piha itself. At low tide they walked around to Piha itself.

In Maori tradition, The Gap was the lare of the famous Taniwha Kaiwhare, and the area was know as Te Rua o Kaiwhare. Kaiwhare was the guardian spirit of the coast and Manukau Harbour entrance, but he also caused floods and overturned canoes. Kaiwhare means “the house eater”, and this was because local folk embarking on ocean voyages or fishing trips floated in food on a little raft with a house on top, to appease Kaiwhare.

Turning tide, 5 January 2011

In the end, the the local iwi decided Kaiwhare had to be killed because he was causing too much trouble and this was accomplished by the warrior Hakawau. He placed a net over the Blowhole and killed Kaiwharu, who in his death throes lashed about and created The Gap.

In historic times, the landowners’ – the Ussher family – farmed the hills and had huts for rent for tourists. One of the Ussher descendants, Ivy La Trobe, married Budge Phillipson, and they lived in a house to the south of the Blowhole while farming this remote area. During the 50s, they had a little cottage on the foreshore and served tea and cold drinks. For 3d you could visit the Blowhole and the Tennis Courts, a flat sward on the clifftops, covered in coastal herbs.

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