13-16 July 2023

Trip Report compiled by Barry Dench

Based in the coastal village of Moeraki at Matariki weekend, there was a buzz about this trip. In Maori culture, Matariki is the Pleiades star cluster and its first rising in June or early July marks the beginning of the new year in the Maori lunar calendar (Wikipedia).

Fourteen members had a very enjoyable long weekend blessed with fine weather and reasonably warm days, for July, although it would have been nice to have cloud free skies in the east for our early morning shoots of Matiriki. As an astro photography convert it was pleasing to see the strong turnout at Moeraki and Katiki Beach’s for the 6.15 am plus shoots and notwithstanding the scattered clouds Matiriki was visible at times along with “The Pot” (Orion) and other  prominent stars and planets in the eastern sky.

 Moeraki and Katiki Beaches are ideal for this genre of photography plus sunrises and as it so happened low tide pre sunrise provided the opportunity for varied compositions with the famed Moeraki boulders fully exposed and as time passed partly surrounded by the rising water. Shag Point provides appealing photo opportunities however the large number of seals there, presented some challenges for us- a nervous moment for some of our members on encountering one aggressive sea mammal and it curtailed the writers Plan A to take mid evening astro shots at the Shag Point headland.

In addition to 3 early morning shoots at the 2 beaches, daytime visits to Shag Point, Bob kindly invited us to an early afternoon tea at his families residence at Aramoana and some of us explored the coastal strip and downs at Kakanui , Blueskin Bay where we all met for morning tea, the Aramoana Mole and boardwalk and Orokonui Ecosanctuary etc. Our potluck dinner on Friday night and Saturday nights dinner at the tavern followed by watching the AB’s impressive win  capped off a great weekend away.

Moeraki is an ideal base for a long weekend winter trip. Perhaps it could become an annual event.

Our thanks to Katherine for organising and leading the trip.