The Sleeping Sky

This town is fast becoming a favourite place of ours. Moeraki. The name means, ‘A place to sleep by day’. Moe is the Māori word for sleep and raki, in the South Island dialect, the word for sky or day. (Pronounced as rangi in the northern dialects). I like to think of Moeraki as meaning ‘sleeping sky’ because a sleepy, dreamy sky is often seen above the harbour.

Fishwife – a little coffee place in a boat shed. We never actually got to sample their fare because it was closed the day we wanted to call in. But it’ll keep. Next time.

Instead we had a beer at the tavern and watched the light fall from a sleeping sky and the birds settle down to roost for the night.

The little village / harbour of Moeraki is popular with tourists as a somewhere to drop in and explore. But not too popular I hope – I feel that too may visitors would be a disaster for this wee place. This post from another blogger gives a great overview of what there is to see and do in Moeraki.

Golden sand on the beach invites a walk all the way round to where the famous boulders are. Well, going the beach route might not be the best idea, because the tide can cut off access. However, there is a track farther inland to follow so phew! Not that we took it. My knee is still not up to long walks, sadly.

Short walks along the edge of the harbour had to suffice.

And spotting a kingfisher made strolling pace more than worth it.

And dinner at the tavern to look forward to that night.

The lighthouse walk is another Moeraki attraction. It must have been about five years since we last visited here. At that time we were the only ones taking the walk. Ten years ago coming here with my sister and brother in law, we were able to see yellow-eyed penguins up close. However, that has all changed – thankfully. The penguins needed to be protected from the stress of humans getting too close. This visit we were accompanied by about ten other people. Obviously word has got out about this special place.

The Kāi Tahu (Ngāi Tahu) iwi are in charge of this land and they make sure the track is maintained and remains safe for humans and wildlife.

From the track we could look down and see the baby seals playing in their nursery.

While on the other side, we could look down on to a small beach where two seals were lying on the golden sand.

Lazing about.

Some preferring the gritty sand.

Others, the grass.

Caption this!

At one point alongside the track, I spotted these typical Aotearoa plants growing side by side – harakeke (flax) and tī kōuka (cabbage tree). The harakeke symbolises whānau family and the tī kōuka symbolises stoic independence. To see them growing close together like this, is a story of both belonging and of doing things your own way. A healthy co-existence as both viewpoints are not necessarily mutually exclusive. In fact in my experience, it is how to best live.

All too soon it was time to say E noho rā (good-bye to the one staying where they are) to our Moeraki. Or maybe Ka kite ano (see you again) would be more appropriate.

Next instalment in the next few days, because yes, there is still more to tell.


Writer from Dunedin, New Zealand.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s