I arrived at Poronui in a deluge of rain and mud. Nearly impossible to see beyond the clouds and fog, the landscape was a mystery to me until I awoke the next morning. Sunlight revealed green, lush pastures caged by thickly wooded hills. Poronui Station used to encapsulate the entire valley but now it is only 16,000 acres (only).
Poronui is a Maori word that means “part of something bigger.” This is because the valley contains the Taharua River which flows to meet the Mohaka along with many other little rivulets and streams. All that water and force converges on this little plot of earth. Wherever you are you belong to something larger than the ground upon which you stand.
While I work at the fly-fishing and hunting lodge, the station also contains a working beef, deer and honey farm. Never before in my life have I seen hundreds of deer roaming grassy hills in herds before. When I pass their paddocks on my runs they flee from me and their hooves sound like thunder. The animals are raised for their meat as well as their velvet.
To the east lies a natural Beech forest where the hunters find wild Red, Sika and Fallow deer. To the south, the unruly Mohaka River juts through the bush and flows out into the world beyond Poronui. Daily, fishermen are carted away from our lodge in helicopters to different beats of the river. Whenever they catch a double digit brown trout (very rare) the pilot does a fly-by over the lodge rattling the roof and the floorboards. It all feels very Top-Gun meets A River Runs Through It.
While this land is incredibly isolated and I am one of 18 employees I have never been more excited to get to know a piece of territory. Every day I explore different pasture trails and old logging trails by foot or on my mountain bike . And every day I am covered in a pale dust from the pumice, the volcanic rock, that is pummeled daily by our trucks and tractors.
In the mornings when I awake to the fog and mist and go for a walk in this new place, the song “Wild Child” plays in my head. I feel privileged to have found this little world all of it’s own.