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Jade River: A History of the Mahurangi

Ronald H Locker
First published 2001. Published online 2014–. This online edition is a work in progress…


Page 1in printed edition

Introduction to how Aotearoa was formed and Mahurangi named

https://www.mahurangi.org.nz/wp/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Zealandia, topographic map

Fruitful Failed Continent: While the Continent of Zealandia stretched too thin to stay afloat, plate tectonics finally came to the rescue to form Aotearoa. map Ulrich Lange

Like Aphrodite, our islands arose from the sea, but not as she, fair and fully formed. The shaping of our land continues, and in the process it has emerged and submerged repeatedly. It is a mere by-product of the coastal rubble of its two older continental neighbours. We are subject to occasional awesome reminders that the work of erosion, deposition, upthrust, folding, faulting and volcanism is not complete, nor ever will be, and that our toehold is precarious.

The gentle landscapes of Mahurangi have an air of stability, but even here the geological mill grinds on. We are made aware of it when yet another pōhutukawa crashes from its crumbled cliff, or when the beaches are reworked by storm, deeply enough to excavate horse mussels, tenaciously embedded at the low tide mark.