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The B&B is on a small life-style block of one hectare. More than seventy hazelnut trees have been planted along with other nut and fruit trees and some exotics for firewood. The focus, however is on planting of native shrubs and trees to complement natural regeneration. Guests are very welcome to walk around the property and talk to Kahu, the goat and her woolly friend, Sheep, to feed the free-range bantam hens and collect the eggs.

The property name is “Mangatawai”, the original name for this area which reflects, as in usual for Maori place-names, the attributes of the area: “Manga” means branches – as of a river (or a tree) – and this is the area from which the 4 significant rivers flow – the Wairau (“a thousand waters” - this is a spectacular braided river), the Motupiko (probably “curving place/land”); the Motueka (probably “place/land of weka” - a native ground dwelling bird/woodhen) and the Buller (named after Sir Walter Buller (1838-1906), ornithologist, author, linguist, soldier, civil servant& businessman; the Buller was originally known as Kawatiri possibly “charmed”, “custom” or “bitter” or a corruption of another word, and for a short time the “Fox” after Sir William Fox, 4 times Prime Minister of NZ/Aotearoa), “Tawai” or “tawhai” means beech tree (the predominant forest tree in this area) or possibly “tawahi” = the other side” of a valley, river, etc.

Certainly, what is clear is that the Wairau Pass was used by Maori, the original settlers in Aotearoa (“the land of the long white cloud”) as as a trading route to and from the West Coast greenstone/jade (pounamu) area. This taonga (treasure) used as a cutting tool and weapon as well as personal decoration and status symbol, was traded for other goods throughout not only by those of Te Tau Ihu o te Waka o Maui (the prow of canoe of Maui – a mythical hero – the Top of the South Island) but throughout the country. Pounamu is still treasured by all who live in Aotearoa. It appears that there were no permanent settlements in the area although early explorers and still existing midden sites and flax gardens indicate seasonal or transitory occupation.

European “discovery” of the Nelson Lakes area and the Pass was driven by the insatiable desire for more pastoral /arable land upon which to settle colonists under the New Zealand Company's Scheme. While frustration generally resulted, Cotterell and Peanter with an unnamed Maori guide “discovered” the Pass and the fertile Wairau Valley. Gold and sheep opened up the area to others exploiting the natural resources – not an easy lifestyle. Hardy adventurers conquered the mountain ranges – leaving names ranging from poetical fancies (Faerie Queen & Gloriana to No Catch'em and Misery), friends and explorers (Kehu and Cotterell), family (Robert, Maud, Howard, Louis and Maggie) or history (Raglan/St Arnaud/Crimea, Nardoo) behind for posterity.

In later years Mt Robert was established as a club ski field on the western side of Rotoiti, and then Rainbow Ski field on the eastern side of the St Arnaud range. While the Robert club field has been closed (although ski touring still occurs), Rainbow continues to pull in the snow bunnies with a short but generally perfect season (www.skirainbow.co.nz ).

The Department of Conservation has its Nelson Lakes base at the village of St Arnaud (and a base at Murchison) and has responsibilities extending beyond the national park (101,753 hectares, gazetted in 1956) to include parts of Mt Richmond Forest Park and Kahurangi National Park as well as other conservation land. The Friends of Rotoiti assist the Department in management of the Rotoiti Nature Recovery Project in the national park and neighbouring Big Bush – an area of 5000 hectares of honeydew beech forest ecosystems supporting natives birds (kaka, kakariki, tui, bellbird (korimako), kea, falcon, (karearea), rock wren, robins, fantails, grey warblers, maybe blue duck (whio) and a range of introduced birds) and invertebrates where intensive management occurs including trapping of exotic animal pests and poisoning of the german wasps. Reintroduction of the great spotted kiwi (roa) is regarded as a success with chicks being raised; more reintroductions including saddleback (tieke) and yellowhead (mohua) are proposed.

Farming (sheep and cattle), tourism, lifestyle lots and holiday homes assist in making the area thrive as well as a very good school and other community-based activities.