Storm clouds over Kawhia

Kawhia is further than it says on the map. The town is not on the way to anywhere big, it’s a tranquil harbour and oasis in the green desert, approached through the peaks of massive, precipitous hills.

A mistake on the constant turns and shimmies will put a car through the sheep wire and turn it, briefly, into an aeroplane. In winter it ices. It’s home, or a deliberate destination, or just bypassed.

The first ever photo taken in the town is from 1884. It shows 45 armed cops in the main street, coming to reopen the harbour and tuck the town back under the wing of law and order and peace after the land wars ended. In modern times it has just one policeman. Today there are more.

The sole charge cop has been attacked, again. He’s the third one in eight years and might leave like the others. So police are back in Kawhia’s main street in numbers.