From Milly’s Prominence to First Christmas Point (and some other names)

Last year we were dealing with some tree lucerne infestations on the less gentle eastern slopes of Puangiangi. Peter and I headed off to a gully we had previously traversed, which made the terrain slightly less daunting than it was for volunteer Greg, who was looking at it for the first time. Peter went ahead to do the steepest bits and I pointed out the route to Greg, but he figured “f*** that!”. This was a very prudent response, but said gully instantly became known to me at least as “F*** That Gully”. This accurately describes a specific small location and so is a useful name for the moment. Consultant On Many Things, Chris Horne, recommended we apply to the New Zealand Geographic Board to formalise it.

This kind of got me thinking: how do names arise, why do some persist, and which ones get onto official maps?

The Topo50 map series shows only two names associated with Puangiangi- the island itself, and the southern high point, Mistaken Mount. More on those later, but what about some of the informal and superseded names that have been used?

If you look at Google Maps at the right magnification, one name only stands out in the Rangitoto group: Milly’s Prominence, on Wakaterepapanui (which has lost an “h” in the relatively recent past).

MillysProminence

It didn’t take me long to work out that Milly’s Prominence is a photo point, placed by Milly’s person, Scott Sambell. Milly is a rat detection dog and she gave Wakaterepapanui a sweep for rats recently. Good job, Milly!

MillysProminencePhoto
Screen grab of the photo point. Note flowering Linum monogynum. Clicking here takes you to the panorama and you can look around it.

The photo point is the place on the main ridge where you arrive after climbing out of the gully above the landing site, and the panorama gives a great look at the regenerating vegetation on Wakaterepapanui.

I’m guessing Milly’s Prominence has relevance to only a few people. Hopefully, similar photo points from unauthorised visitors will not pop up on Puangiangi.

In the absence of an official name for Puangiangi’s high point, Ross Webber referred to it as Hill Sixty. This is a name from the fighting around Ypres in 1915 and fits with Ross’ interests in all things military. We aren’t so inclined and refer to the point as the Summit, or Spot Height 150. These are unambiguous enough for us, as are places like Robin Bush (where we let some robins go), Telecom Bush (near the Telecom Hut), the First Bridge (there aren’t any others, although The Crossing Where The Second Bridge Used To Be is certainly useful when giving directions to first-time visitors), the Southern Forest, the Northeastern Forest, Hinau Gully, the Salt Turf, the Striped Gecko Release Site, the Sooty Colony (despite there being three), the Finger Post and so on. Also useful are names like Boatshed Gully (the gully that doesn’t have a boatshed at the bottom), Woolshed Bay (the bay that doesn’t have a woolshed), the Gannets (where there aren’t any gannets), the Frog Bank (where there aren’t any frogs) and Dam Gully (well, you get the idea). Archipelago Rock is off the northern tip of the island and was named by ecologist Geoff Walls so that we didn’t feel left out of the club by owning only a single private island, but rather a chain of them. These names all work for us, and will last about as long as we do.

Moving on from the relatively ephemeral, I was interested in the names given to the Rangitoto group over the years. The name clearly arises from the name of D’Urville Island, Rangitoto ki te Tonga. Because there is also a Rangitoto near Auckland, it causes some confusion, and there’s a group of photos lurking on Google Maps that haven’t been elevated to prominence like Milly’s, um, Prominence, pointing at the Cook Strait Rangitotos. Some of the photos are of Rangitoto near Auckland, as indeed photos purporting to be of Tinui are of that locality in the Wairarapa. Air New Zealand looked pretty stupid when their feature on the northerly Rangitoto in their in-flight magazine some years ago, had as the cover picture the bottom of Puangiangi’s Boatshed Gully (the one without the boatshed, which is actually a freezer shed from Ross Webber’s fishing days). They were guilty of lifting a picture from a library without checking it. The photo started life in some real estate publicity.

Cook named Admiralty Bay in which the Rangitotos lie. He did not explore Admiralty Bay directly as he considered it a bit too choked by islands for safety, and depending on where he was when he decided that, you can see his point. He named the slew of islands the Admiralty Isles:

CookMapTeAra
Detail from Cook’s map published in Sydney Parkinson’s Journal of a Voyage to the South Seas (1773), taken from Te Ara.

A later chart of Cook Strait published in about 1780 is a bit unclear as to whether the Rangitotos are included in the name Admiralty Isles, but a Dutch edition of Cook’s Journals is more convincing:

Cook1785
Detail from Chart of Cook’s Strait in New Zealand, published by Alexander Hogg in London, c1780. A copy is at the National Library.
CookDutch
Detail from a map in a Dutch edition of Cook’s Voyages.

Both maps show that Cook took soundings to the south of the Rangitotos; this will be from when he took on water near Whareatea in March 1770. I know little about Cook’s story and I was amazed that so many slightly different charts survive from the time. The above are only a selection, and others were kindly provided by Jerry Simonsen and Chris Stephens at Land Information New Zealand (LINZ, which incorporates the Geographic Board). The name Admiralty Isles hasn’t stuck and the various islands have long since reverted to their original names.

What of the name Puangiangi itself? This was one of many names around the country that until recently had escaped formal adoption by the New Zealand Geographic Board. They had a big catch-up in 2018 when many hundreds of names in common use, Puangiangi among them, were promulgated officially. The name acquired a macron over the “u” at the time, as it is given in the Ngati Koata Treaty Settlement documents.

(If you are wondering why I’m not using macrons in these articles, it’s not to make any kind of point- it’s simply that the wordpress.com editor I am using does not offer all of the vowels with macrons and I figured it was better to leave them out. The Geographic Board moved swiftly to remove a freshly-minted macron from the beginning of “Ohakune” this month after complaints from iwi Ngati Rangi, who described the introduction of the macron as “ill-informed”. If you would like to hear “Puangiangi” being pronounced by the late Turi Elkington, refer to http://ingoa.nz/old/contents.html [scroll to No. 144 Western Sounds; Mr Elkington also pronounces Wakaterepapanui with an “h”].)

It’s long been fashionable to break down Maori names into their supposed constituent parts and ascribe Europeanised meanings to them. For example, the article about the region in New Zealand Geographic (1992, No. 16), also part of the Geographic Board correspondence files, says that by one translation Puangiangi means “to be exposed to the wind”. It may well be, but I’d like to quote Sir Apirana Ngata, as set out by H A H Insull in Marlborough Place Names (Reed, 1952): “If I analyse the word ‘category’, in the same way as some of the pakeha have Maori place names, we get ‘cat-e-gory’, so ‘category’ means ‘sanguinary tom-cat’”. Insull says that one should not engage in guessing games with these names, and meaning should only be ascribed if people can be found who have access to whakapapa books or are prepared to recount the oral traditions around names. Sound advice. Insull’s book made no mention of Puangiangi.

I found in the National Library, card indices by two noted researchers of place names who were active in the first half of the 1900s. Reed’s Place Names Index does not include a card for Puangiangi. Johannes C Andersen’s does, but it is fairly generic with no derivation given, as opposed to many of the other cards which are full of interesting notes:

AndersenCardIndex
Andersen’s Card for Puangiangi (and Mistaken Mount). The cross-referenced card for Rangitoto Islets adds nothing further.

The Geographic Board folk say that they made no fresh analysis of Puangiangi when it was made official in 2018, and that no value judgement was made of any material in their old correspondence files.

Fortunately, help seems to be at hand. The Ngati Kuia Treaty Settlement documents mention Puangiangi in a few places, this time without the macron (although the occurrences are italicised and it might be that the documents had the same limitation on special characters as I do). This whakapapa was the most interesting:

Tumatakokiri = Moeawhiti

Pani = Puangiangi

Hautai

This could be the fullest version of the whakapapa that survives, or it might be an abbreviated form, representing just the links to very important tipuna or iwi. Tumatakokiri was founder of the Kurahaupo iwi Ngati Tumatakokiri, who arrived in Te Tau Ihu from the North, possibly around 1600. This was well before Ngati Kuia and the other iwi of their alliance. They lived in the region for about 200 years and were eventually driven out to the west. The iwi was all but wiped out around 1810, but there are people today who whakapapa to Ngati Tumatakokiri. Ngati Kuia also have Kurahaupo ancestry and this could explain how the whakapapa given above has been absorbed by Ngati Kuia.

It’s said that the nearby island Nukuwaiata was named for a grandson or granddaughter of Tumatakokiri, so it’s reasonable to suppose that somewhere else might have been named for Tumatakokiri’s direct offspring. As a placeholder pending further information, may I suggest that Puangiangi might well have been a daughter (?) of Tumatakokiri, founder of the iwi Ngati Tumatakokiri.

I have no idea where the name Pani as husband (?) of Puangiangi has come from. The only early Pani I have come across was from the even earlier time of Kupe. Features at the northern end of D’Urville commemorate Pani’s story.

And what of Mistaken Mount, the southern high point of Puangiangi? It’s not in Insull’s Marlborough Place Names and Andersen’s index card pictured above is not informative. My first guess was that it might have been from when Cook circumnavigated the South Island. Perhaps near the end of the circumnavigation he missed his reference point Stephens Island in the fog, ended up near Puangiangi and then realised his Mistake. Unfortunately there is no such reference that I could find. Chris Stephens at LINZ says that they have been going through all of Cook’s material in preparation for the 250th anniversary, and they have not found Mistaken Mount either.

I also had a look through what material I could find of the European explorers who came after Cook, and early local pakeha residents, but drew a blank. It’s also not mentioned in J O’C Ross’ comprehensive book This Stern Coast- The Story of the Charting of the New Zealand Coast (Reed, 1969), which I borrowed from Ross Webber’s library on Puangiangi. Sheila Natusch’s The Cruise of the Acheron (Whitcoulls, 1978), from the same library, is similarly silent on Mistaken Mount. However, the name clearly appears in Stokes’ chart of 1849-53 produced as a result of the Acheron survey. I understand that this survey gave many new names to features around the coast, so for now I will conclude that the name was conferred by Stokes.

AcheronLegend
Title detail of chart produced from the Acheron and Pandora surveys, 1849-53. From a copy in the National Library.
AcheronRangitotos
Rangitoto group with Mistaken Mt., shown in the 1849-53 chart. The legend near Puangiangi’s 150 m summit merely says “Cone”.

Mistaken Mount is shown on modern maps as also being a survey mark. LINZ records show it is a lowly 9th Order mark these days.

MistakenMt
Mistaken Mount seen from the North.

Although the top of the hill is covered in kanuka/manuka now and would not these days afford much of a view for triangulation, the survey mark is still there in the form of a two-inch driven steel pipe, as is so common around the country.

pipe
Mark A8B0 at Mistaken Mount.

Jerry Simonsen at LINZ provided several early survey maps, and it looks like the mark was put in by Morgan Carkeek’s survey team in 1907-1909.

Nelson-SO 7117_Part1
Detail from a 1911 map by Ledger, attributing Survey Mark G to Morgan Carkeek. Courtesy LINZ, Ref. Nelson- SO 7117.
Nelson-SO 7117_Part2
From the 1911 Map, showing Survey Mark G “Mistake” on Mistaken Mount. Courtesy LINZ.
Nelson-SO 6931_Part
Another, possibly earlier, map showing that the mark on Mistaken Mount was used to fix points along the D’Urville coast also. Courtesy LINZ, Ref. Nelson- SO 6931.

The Carkeek survey dated from the partitioning of D’Urville Island which has been mentioned in another article in this series. The outline of Puangiangi on the survey maps is little more than a rough sketch. Olive Baldwins’ book Story of New Zealand’s French Pass and D’Urville Island (Vol 1) (Fields, 1979) quotes a letter from Rex Mercer of Nelson to the effect that Carkeek’s survey was much more difficult and expensive than anticipated because of weather, access and terrain, and that it was terminated before being entirely complete. A drawing of the Rangitotos to the level of detail seen in Stokes’ chart of 60 years earlier might have been a casualty of that. At any rate, it’s a sketch that persists on the title documents, as does the resultant gross inaccuracy in the area of Puangiangi.

Title1927
Detail from the 1927-9 Partition and Title documents, showing persistence of the “sketch” outline, albeit with differences from Carkeek’s survey drawings. Purchased from LINZ.

Fun fact: Morgan Carkeek may have been the last person to see a live North Island takahe, in the northern Ruahines in 1894.

To conclude this meander, I have a vague memory of Ross Webber mentioning that there is supposed to be a memorial to Abel Tasman somewhere on the coast of Puangiangi. Others have discounted this and we haven’t seen one. What Ross might have meant is disclosed in a 1969 letter provided by Chris Stephens, where L W Field, a founder of the Nelson Historical Society, suggested naming the southwestern point “First Christmas Point”, to commemorate the celebration in December 1642 when Tasman anchored in the lee of the Rangitotos to ride out a storm, the extremity of Puangiangi likely being the closest land to where he anchored.

FieldLetter
Portion of a letter by L W Field, suggesting the name First Christmas Point. Courtesy LINZ, Ref NZGB Correspondence, Vol 40.

The main feature of the southwestern point is a heart-stopping drop-off marking the boundary of the little salt turf we have. A well-preserved salt turf might be the best memorial.

-Sincere thanks to Jerry Simonsen and Chris Stephens at LINZ for material used in this article.

Slowing, or Speeding, Climate Change?

OK, so as a middle-aged person, I am supposed to spend my days stealing houses from Millennials, misinterpreting their profound social media posts as self-entitled whining (Dang, got sidetracked onto Millennnials again. Must. Focus.), consuming more than my share, and generally not caring a jot as the planet cooks.

But a chance remark got me thinking: is the Puangiangi restoration project 100% wonderful in every respect, or is it an insidious little contributor to climate disaster dressed up as something else?

I already knew that the single biggest thing an individual can do to halt anthropogenic climate change, is not travel internationally (thank you, SEWTHA) (Ref. 1). It was a pretty short leap to imagine what using chartered helicopters on the island project might be doing,  but where does short-haul travel on a 50-seater plane and use of cars, ferries and water taxis come in?

I made a list of things we are doing on the project that might be hurting, and a list of things that might be helping. Then it was a matter of looking at each one and deciding if they were significant, and adding them up.

I figured that it would be best to look at the incremental effects of the project, over and above what I would otherwise be doing with my time. So I’m looking at: the extra travel; the extra resource consumption, beyond just living a normal and hopefully not too impactful life back in town; and on the plus side, considering any CO2 that is being sequestered as a result of the project. If you like, this is by way of a voluntary report based on the guidelines for corporate greenhouse gas reporting published by the Ministry for the Environment (MFE) (Refs 2 and 3). Throughout, I will be referring to CO2-e:  Carbon Dioxide equivalents, measured in kg or tonnes of CO2 per unit of activity. So, here goes:

Travel

The project involves about 12 visits a year: 10 by plane from Wellington to Nelson, car to French Pass, charter boat to Puangiangi, and return; and 2 by ferry from Wellington to Picton, car from Picton to Rai (and Peter driving out from Nelson to Rai), then to French Pass, boat, and return. The harshest interpretation is to say that all this travel is incremental. So although, for example, we aren’t using our cars in the city while we are on the island, I’m saying we would be saving up the trips we would otherwise have taken and doing them on our return.

Air New Zealand publishes a calculator (Ref. 4) that says a trip for one passenger on their Wellington-Nelson flight produces 19 kg CO2-e (38 kg for the return trip). I’m taking the following figures for petrol and diesel to work out the car and charter boat side of things: 250 g CO2-e per km driven for a medium car over a windy road (extrapolated from figures in Ref. 3), and diesel consumption of 40 L/hr on the charter boat (one hour one-way) at 2.72 kg CO2-e per litre (Ref. 3). For the ferry, I’m using a published figure for smaller roll on-roll off vessels of 60 g CO2-e per tonne-km (Ref. 5) which, allowing 2 tonnes for the weight of my vehicle, me and freight, and a distance of just under 100 km, gives 12 kg CO2-e for a one-way trip.

This all adds up to a CO2-e of 316 kg for a return trip using the plane, and 352 kg for a return trip involving the ferry (which has extra car travel). That gives an annual travel CO2-e of 3.9 tonnes, with the boat charter constituting nearly 70%. The best thing we could be doing to lower the travel footprint is to try to take charter boat trips when the skipper is using his boat for something else at the same time. When several people are coming from Wellington on a trip, and of course if a lot of freight is being carried, the ferry route would be a good idea.

Helicopters

Sometimes we need to use helicopters, such as for weed spraying on the cliffs, or for moving animals on or off where their welfare requires the less time in boxes the better. I’m guessing about 4 hours of helicopter time a year. A twin-engined Squirrel uses 180 L of avgas an hour (Ref. 6), which makes for a CO2-e of 1.8 tonnes per year.

Living and Working On Site

In looking at the emissions resulting from working on the island, I identified LPG use for cooking and hot water, wood for heating, petrol for scrub bars, chainsaws and the like, solar panels and batteries for power, and we have a fridge. Most of this is incremental usage as our houses back in town are still occupied while we are away.

We use an 18 kg bottle of LPG in about 3 months. At 3.03 kg CO2-e per kg of LPG (Ref. 3), that’s 0.22 tonnes per year. We use about 10 L (7 kg) of petrol every two months. At 2.36 kg CO2-e per kg (Ref. 3), that’s a further 0.10 tonnes per year. We burn perhaps 200 kg of firewood a year, which at the published 0.0795 kg CO2-e per kg (Ref. 3) is only 0.02 tonnes CO2-e. I can’t get my head around the derivation of the firewood numbers.

Standard domestic fridges are held to lose 3% of their refrigerant per year (Ref. 2). Taking the 100 grams of refrigerant to have 2000 times the global warming potential of CO2, that makes for 0.006 tonnes CO2-e per year.

The MFE guidelines for reporting don’t address life cycle analyses, but I also wondered what the effect of the solar power system might be. A solar panel array, the inverter equipment and the aluminium racking are thought to have a footprint of about 500 tonnes of CO2-e per MW of installed capacity (Ref. 7). Our system is 2.28 kW, so over a lifetime of say 15 years and assuming it doesn’t get recycled, that is a burden of 0.08 tonnes per year. The lead-acid batteries are held to have a footprint of 1.14 kg CO2-e per kg (Ref. 8). I think this allows for the lead to be recycled but I’m not sure. For 800 kg of batteries and a ten-year life, that comes to 0.09 tonnes CO2-e per year. Our special situation requires the spent batteries to be flown off for recycling (and new ones on at the same time), and a 1.4-hour helicopter trip once in 10 years will add about 0.06 tonnes CO2-e per year.

These living and project work components add up to 0.6 tonnes CO2-e per year.

In summary, the biggest burdens are travel to and from the project site, and helicopter use on the project. The sum of the identified emissions is 6.3 tonnes CO2-e per year.

Sequestration: Forest Regeneration

Capture
Plot of CO2 sequestration in tonnes/Ha/year against age of native forest since establishment (Ref. 9)

What of the offsets inherent in the project that we can use to balance up the emissions side of things? I have used the lookup tables published by the Carbon Farming Group (Refs 9 and 10).

Puangiangi has about 10 Ha of mature coastal broadleaf forests. We could assume that they are now only maintaining themselves rather than actively growing, or at best storing about a tonne per hectare per year.

Sheep were excluded from both ends of the island in around 1996,  and the 20 Ha of shrublands and developing forests could therefore be said to be at Year 23, sequestering 11 tonnes CO2 per hectare, falling to a bit over 3 tonnes per hectare in 15 years’ time.

We removed the sheep entirely about 6 years ago, and if the 17 Ha of regenerating pasturelands are therefore said to be at Year 6, they are currently sequestering about 4 tonnes per hectare.

So, for the current year, CO2 is probably being sequestered in the newer forests and regenerating pasture at about 288 tonnes CO2-e per year. In 15 years, say when the need for active intervention in the restoration, and associated CO2-e emissions, is much less, offsetting would still be around 250 tonnes per year.

I’m not sure how much of this CO2 being put away is down to the project and how much might have happened anyway. If we hadn’t become involved, the island might have remained uninhabited and the 20 sheep present in 2012 might have persisted, say for 10 more years (they had already managed 8 by themselves since 2004 when Ross Webber left). Or indeed someone might have taken it over as a lifestyle block and run 20 sheep, 15 alpacas and a pony. To a first approximation, the sheep might have had an effect equivalent to completely preventing regeneration on the 17 Ha of central pasturelands: that 17 Ha would have become populated with the unpalatable tauhinu, which stores CO2 as well as anything else, but the sheep might well have had an opposite effect on the broadleaf shrublands and developing forest (the fencing present in 1996 had been allowed to fall into disrepair by 2012, and gates had been left open, so if things had just carried on the sheep would have been in the regenerating areas more and more as the tauhinu took over the pasture). The lookup tables say that if regeneration of 17 Ha pasture were prevented by the sheep for 10 years, then a total of 40 tonnes CO2-e per hectare (680 tonnes total, or about 10 rising to 130 tonnes CO2-e per year from year 1 to 10) would not have been stored.

On top of that would be the effect of methane emissions from the sheep, of which there were about 20 in 2012 when we arrived. Methane has 25 times the long-run global warming potential of CO2 (Ref. 11). Sheep methane emissions are in the range 9-35 grams per day per sheep (Ref. 12). Let’s say the island sheep were right at the low end of that range. That still adds up to 1.6 tonnes of CO2-e per year for the time the flock persisted.

Conclusions

It’s hardly surprising that our activities are easily offset by forest regrowth, if a bit harder to say how much of the forest regrowth is incremental because of our actions, but it’s worth the exercise to set it out on paper. I wouldn’t have guessed that simply removing the sheep would have had such a benefit. So I’m somewhat reassured, even given my simplistic calculations. The value for readers might be in having a look at the references and thinking about their own situation. Millennials: do factor in the effect of having your Uber Eats delivered (Dang. Almost made it).

References (all links accessed June 2019)

  1. Sustainable Energy Without The Hot Air. See for example: https://commonsciencespace.com/energy-sensible-sewtha/
  2. https://www.mfe.govt.nz/sites/default/files/media/Climate%20Change/voluntary-greenhouse-gas-reporting-2015-year.pdf
  3. https://www.mfe.govt.nz/sites/default/files/media/Climate%20Change/voluntary-ghg-reporting-summary-tables-emissions-factors-2015.pdf
  4. https://www.airnewzealand.co.nz/loyaltymodule/form/carbon-emissions-offset
  5. https://www.ecta.com/resources/Documents/Best%20Practices%20Guidelines/guideline_for_measuring_and_managing_co2.pdf
  6. http://www.skyworkhelicopters.com/company/helicopter-fleet.cfm
  7. https://www.appropedia.org/LCA_of_silicon_PV_panels
  8. https://www.apc.com/salestools/VAVR-9KZQVW/VAVR-9KZQVW_R0_EN.pdf?sdirect=true
  9. https://www.carbonfarming.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/InfoSheet_13New.pdf
  10. https://www.carbonfarming.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2011-ETS-look-up-tables-guide.pdf
  11. https://www.nzagrc.org.nz/methane-1.html
  12. https://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/science/greenhouse-gases/agricultural-greenhouse-gases/methane-emissions