Bulldozers, boats and a beach…

If you do an internet search for “bulldozer capital” or something similar, you might be surprised to read that it’s here in New Zealand! At the southernmost point of North Island sits the settlement of Ngawi (N-a-wee). The shoreline is alternates from razor sharp edged rock formations to steep volcanic sand beaches, all constantly battered by waves that come straight up from Antarctica (The prevailing winds are southerly here.). There’s a history of wrecks and loss of life almost since records began  back in the 1800’s due to the shoals and currents.

Because of the treacherous nature of the shifting sands and ferociousness of the waves and currents, there is apparently no firm foundation for laying a permanent harbour/ pier, not to mention the effort and expense involved in keeping the harbour sand free to an acceptable depth.

So how do you launch your boat for a weekend of sea fishing for Marlin or Swordfish. Well, you can stop thinking about using your car. There’s no slipway, and your average 4×4 car will not get more than about 2 metres before sinking to its axles, (and if you’re lucky, it wont get dragged into the sea by the weight of the boat and trailer…) The people around here traditionally used farm tractors and specially modified trailers. Apparently before Ngawi became a contender for title of the bulldozer capital, it was a contender for the tractor capital of the world. Go figure.

But dozers are the newest thing on the block. They range in size, shape and complexity from very basic to a Caterpillar D7H!

Parking on the main street is at a premium. No room for cars here...
Parking on the main street is at a premium. No room for cars here…
Tinky winky relaxes and thinks
Tinky winky relaxes and thinks “pink”…
A couple of the newer machines...
A couple of the bigger dozers- Caterpillar and Komatsu.
The Caterpillar D7H is an impressive machine...
The Caterpillar D7H is an impressive machine…

Several of the larger models appear to be ex- forestry machines. Despite their initial rough appearance with dilapidated paint and rust showing, when you get close up. all the important parts are well maintained- check out how shiny the hydraulic arms are of the dozer blades.

Don't be put off by the rust- its just for cosmetic effect!
Don’t be put off by the rust- it’s just for cosmetic effect!

Apparently there used to be a huge commercial fishing community here last century.Which explains this monster jetty…

This guy stands out in a major way! Tha'ts our 4x4 at the side.
This guy stands out in a major way! That’s our 4×4 at the side.You can just see the steep slope of the beach behind the trailer…
Despite the surface rust, this guy solid, and huge!
Despite the surface rust, this guy solid, and huge! Note how fine the volcanic sand and the size of the tyres to compensate.

Of course, being here at the end of winter means no fishing, so the village was virtually deserted. Definitely one of the remotest yet loveliest places I’ve ever been.

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