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the Degree Confluence Project
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New Zealand : North Island

2.8 km (1.7 miles) E of Umutoi, Manawatu-Wanganui, N. Island, New Zealand
Approx. altitude: 595 m (1952 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest Multimap world confnav)
Antipode: 40°N 4°W

Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: On the way to the confluence you move along and cross the Horopito Stream. #3: Self at the confluence still hot from the cliff climb. #4: Looking east you can see the Ruahine Range, a 100km long Forest Park loved by hunters. #5: Proof that a) I got to the confluence, and b) that I can't take photos.

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  40°S 176°E (visit #1)  

#1: View looking towards the confluence on my first excursion into the area.

(visited by Bob Jordan)

30-Dec-2000 -- This confluence was destined to be mine - everything about it had significance for me - it had to be mine. It was here in the heart of the North Island during my awakening years (7 to 12 years old) that my heart had been turned to the outdoors in the little town of Mangaweka lying some 28km to the NW of the confluence. My mother had even delivered fresh fish along these roads through those years. Here, as parental restrictions had started to relax, I had grown to love the hills and bush that surrounded the area. So when I had completed my first confluence exactly 2 degrees North of there and started to look around for others, I knew that this one was mine.

Well it is a few hours drive from my home so it was not going to be a Sunday afternoon jaunt and needed some planning. Earlier in 2000 while returning from a visit to my parents in Palmerston North I'd been drawn to approach the confluence along the lovely back roads of the area and had encountered magic frosts that had lingered late into the afternoon in the deep valleys. Frosts that made the road slippery and the grass at the side so white. This further enhanced my resolve. On that excursion I had driven to a point 0.76km South of the confluence, but even with the farmers permission I would have had to walk over too much of the personal space of that outback family. Another point about 1km due W of the confluence looked like it headed through swamp so I moved on. The next point had a similar altitude to the confluence and was now NNW of the point and only just a tad more than a km away from it. This would be the point to depart from, I decided, but not on that day. I took a photo to sustain my memory and headed off with more resolve than ever.

Well the day came on the 30th December 2000, again returning from my folks where I had spent Xmas. This time I had my trusty 12 year old German Shepherd Oslo with me but he didn't know that he would not be attending the rites of confluence discovery. I decided to do the driving part of the journey by GPS alone. On leaving my folks house (some 50km away) I did the 'GOTO S40E176' command on my Garmin 12XL and just let the GPS decide which direction I should turn at each and every intersection. OK, I had a bit of an idea where I was heading but that was the rule I set, and this actually this did me well. On a couple of occasions I was starting to wonder if this was the best strategy, but only twice did I need to backtrack when the road curved too far away from the intended direction. I finally got to the jump off point by the wool-shed on Tunipo road that I had identified so many months before and tied my unhappy dog up to the fence in the shelter of the car and with plenty of water and headed off. He didn't accept my plea about sheep farmers with low humour and high powered rifles.

Distance 1.04km and bearing about 170? - shouldn't take too long? The first part of the journey was across open farmland with plenty of sheep and cattle noting my progress but more noteworthy was the plaintive cry of my dog thinking he had been abandoned. Ahead lay a gorge that looked deep and had a rather steep cliff on the far side (see photo). I continually reassessed in my mind as I approached it whether the confluence would be at the top or bottom of that cliff - my hope said bottom - reality said top. Reality won on the day and after wandering up a lovely mountain stream surrounded by cliffs I spent a few anxious moments wondering how long they would take to find my body if I fell as I swung up those steep tree roots on soft sedimentary 'papa' cliffs. That fear does focus one a little and the top was soon reached and the confluence was found a short distance away. It was fairly typical hill country farmland just under the wonderful bush country of the Ruahine ranges where I had spent a week deer stalking as a youth and where my brother had spent so much time as a professional hunter. I must confess that, although the area was magic and the approach up the stream had been lovely, the confluence was not a point one would rush back to. I took the necessary photos and headed back to car and dog who had now given up his wailing and was out of sight till I climbed the last fence. For a moment I thought he had done a runner on me. So S40E176 was finally under my belt and a worthy little excursion it was too. I had now been to 5 of the 12 New Zealand North Island confluences (two of these alone and first), and to within 1km of two others. That is some sort of half way?


 All pictures
#1: View looking towards the confluence on my first excursion into the area.
#2: On the way to the confluence you move along and cross the Horopito Stream.
#3: Self at the confluence still hot from the cliff climb.
#4: Looking east you can see the Ruahine Range, a 100km long Forest Park loved by hunters.
#5: Proof that a) I got to the confluence, and b) that I can't take photos.
ALL: All pictures on one page (broadband access recommended)