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the cave a bit of history


The Initiation
Picture a 5 year old boy in a village deep in the urawera bush of New Zealand.about 1945
There were only 40 houses in the village and the boys there were more or less loose knit groups .
I desperately wanted to be one of the groups and one day a friend said that to belong you had to go and visit the ‘cave’

OK that seemed simple enough so with the friend as a guide we disappeared deep in the bush and soon I heard a tremendous rushing sound of very rapid water. Oh wow there was this huge ravine filled with ferocious water traveling at break neck speed some 20 feet below, the steep sides were covered with green moss and the rocks were wet and slippery. I was very apprehensive and said where are these caves.

My friend, the same age as me, pointed to a cliff face that seemed to have very little to hold on to.
Scared as I was I was determined to see the cave and as my friend showed me the special places to get hand holds we edged along the sheer cliff face not daring to look down at the water and certain death.
Soon we came to the difficult part as small horizontal crack in the cliff that only a small boy of 5 could fit and crawl along with out falling.
No wonder the adults did not know of our cave it would be impossible due to the dense bush and other things for any person bigger than a 5 year old boy to get to the cave.
At the end of the groove in the cliff was another surprise a drop to some flat rocks and up to onto a small ledge and there in front of me were two supple-jack vines to hang onto and was able to lower myself on to the next ledge and then the easy part to the cave in the side of the sheer cliff.
By this time I was trembling with sheer fright as I realized I had to go back the same way.
The cave was full of stalactites and after a short explore we edged our way back along the cliff making sure that every hand and foot hold was secure as to slip any where in the 20 meter climb was certain death.
Back in the dense bush I was elated. I had done what only 3 boys in the village had done and was still alive.
As we exited from the bush we were met by two very anxious mothers and as I proudly related to my mum where I had been I got the biggest, first, and last hiding in my life.
Since that day I have never been scared of anything, as I knew that if I make sure of every step, I would be safe.
Sixty years on I had almost forgotten this escapade till I was sitting in the Christchurch airport and looking at a poster of a New Zealand bush and ravine scene and gradually I realized there was the slippery flat topped rocks the horizontal groove, and yes even the two vines at the end of the last climb and the dark patch, yes I knew what was around that corner and only 3 people in N Z knew about it.
I flew out of the air port to a school reunion and of all the people who were there at the school reunion, was the special playmate, who was the other person who knew about our secret cave of 60 years ago.
I said “remember the first time we went to the cave ‘
“ Sure do “he said ”it was my first time too”

top left is a dark place where the cave is hiden from view and the two vines i had to choose which was the safest

More blog posts by piersdad

Previous post: A virtual tour from waikaremoana lake in the Urawera bush to lake waikareiti

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That's a wonderful story :o)

15 Sep, 2009


Your poor mother! typical boy though! thanks for that.

15 Sep, 2009


It is amazing what can be achieved if you put your mind to it, great story, even though you had a good smacking!!

15 Sep, 2009


the stick (she used) i proudly showed mum that i was going to make into a fishing rod and i must say that was the last and only smacking i got from ether parents.
apparently we were seen going into the dense bush and the village was alerted for some sort of disaster to us two boys so i have always forgiven my loving mum.

the other boy was a real ratbag and his mothers reaction to my mum smacking me will always remain in my memories it was

"Oh we must not chastise our children in public"

the dirty look she got from me as i tended my sore bottom
if looks could kill she would have been fried

16 Sep, 2009


That was an amazing story It must have had a great great impact on your life for you to remember every detail.Thank you for sharing it .

16 Sep, 2009


I bet you gave your mother some grey hairs.

16 Sep, 2009


just a few grey hairs even at 93 yrs
an amazing lady from getting married and going to India in 1930 she was there waited on by many servants then returned to NZ and had to cook on an open fire in dense bush while dad started a gold mine.
i was born there and only knew a bush hut of wire netting and malthoid cover for 18 months then saw civilization for the first time and remember the day as if it was yesterday.
but thats another blog

16 Sep, 2009


Cannot wait to read that one.........sounds like you have the making of a good book.!!!!

16 Sep, 2009


have to find th only pic of the shack if possible

16 Sep, 2009


I've read this story before, PD! I think it must have been on Storydad, your webpage.

Nevertheless, reading it again takes no merit away from your "escapade" & daringness. You have a very good memory for details. You must have a "photographic" memory!

26 Sep, 2009

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