The Bay Chronicle
15 August 2003 (By Keri Molloy)

Boulders gather growing interest

Since The Bay Chronicle carried a story about Wairere Boulders (August 8), property owners Felix and Rita Schaad have been contacted by scientists, government departments and people as far afield as Australia.
Adding to accumulating information about the valley of basalt boulders, scientist Roger Evans of Kerikeri says:
"I was unaware of the extent of the feature, though I had seen the large boulders close to the Horeke/Taheke road in the stream bed there. At the time I was mainly mapping the in situ formations (the basalt on the Pukewhao  ridge and the sandstones and shales underlying them). The boulders are erosional remnants. The Pukewhao flow is probably the distal extension of the Marangai ridge flows (Okaihau). which originated at a high point on the Waiare Road ridge (just south of Okaihau golf course) or at an eruptive centre near Imms Road, Okaihau. The flow was erupted on to an elevated landscape of gently sloping valleys - on a landscape uplifted about 10 million years ago - which has since been deeply eroded to form the present dissected landscape. The boulders are remnants of the eroded flows which ran down a broad valley from Okaihau to Horeke, and which have settled into their present position as erosion has progressively removed the softer sandstones from under them. Of interest is the large flat plateau tableland of leached clay soils adjoining the lava flow at Pukewhao, which has been preserved from erosion by the basalt flows - effectively a fossil landscape. The sheer number of the fluted boulders is the striking feature."
Mr Evans says similar occurrences of fluted boulder fields can be seen at the northern end of Sandys Road Dam near Kerikeri, which cover several acres, and at Takapuwahia highpoint in the Puketi forest which is on a ridge top - neither as spectacular as the Wairere site.
"The Wairere occurrence is the only extensive one I know in a valley floor."
Wairere Boulders, about 14km from Taheke  SH 12 or about 14 km from Rangiahua SH 1, is thought to be possibly one of the Far North’s most remarkable eco-tourism assets.
The geological formation has been recognised by scientists in the past but remained largely unknown until Felix and Rita Schaad developed walkways and opened up their property to the public 18 months ago.