28th Annual Rotary Club of Cromwell 4WD Heartland Safari
Paula and Richard Jackson on Safari. Photo Denis McEntyre

On a perfect Central summers day, overcast to filter the sun’s sting, the Rotary Club of Cromwell this month organised its 28th annual 4WD Rally fundraiser.

Called the ‘Waipapehe or Kofiua Tour’, the rally was organised by Gordon Stewart, and raised approximately $4000 for local charities.

Gordon is quick to thank the farmers who allowed the rally access to their land – over Cairnmuir and Hawksburn Stations, saying,

“It was a great day, and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves and appreciated the chance to travel across this land and learn of its history. The club is really grateful to the two farmers involved.”

Gordon prepared notes for all vehicles, so that they could spot the many landmarks – geographical features, water races, boundaries and historic points of interest – as they drove past. 

He talked about the various names of Bannockburn, Maori and European, over the ages, and of how they got those names.

An early Maori historian, Herries Beatie, listed the name Waipeke as the original Te Reo name, and a Department of Conservation Heritage study refers to the name Kofiua, and tells the tale of how that name evolved.

“The name Bannockburn was reputed to have been bestowed on us by a Mr Wilkin, of Wanaka Station, who paid a visit. He also named several of the creeks between Wanaka and here.”

The vehicles travelled in convoy, with stops for discussion and food, making it a friendly, informative day out over great country.