The first Pakeha to see Lake Omapere were, I believe, Samuel Marsden and his friend John Nicholas.

The account in Nicholas' narrative of A Voyage To New Zealand 1814-15 is amazing. It tells of their hard tramp through great puriri forests that hid the sky. The description of the lake area and surrounding land was one of great beauty and a rich food-gathering area for Maori. They were both deeply impressed with the area.

What a pity the lake levels were reduced to create farmland. The lake is too shallow now to maintain life to the end of a long, hot and dry summer.

Life in pioneer days was very hard. They were forced to cut forests to survive financially. Back-breaking work that resulted — long after their hard lives — in the wonderful world of modern New Zealand. So many New Zealanders know nothing of such efforts.


Generations of back-breaking farming work built our hospitals, schools and welfare systems of today.

Lake Omapere's depth reduction was one of many mistakes made in ignorance. Our polluted rivers and endangered lakes caused by past lack of scientific knowledge must be corrected as fast as we are able. They made mistakes, but also got an awful lot right, thank goodness.

So life goes on, and some of our modern plastic mistakes will regularly come home to roost in the future.

SAM McHarg