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September 2017 Issue
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A curious sign

Confusing? The signs for Wellington and Cape Reinga appear to be pointing in the wrong direction. Photo: C.K.Hartman/Creative Commons

It’s a significant milestone for any Te Araroa Tramper: marking the end of their journey with a photograph of themselves beneath the AA signpost in Bluff. One sign on the post is particularly significant, as it points to Cape Reinga where their adventure began.

But Wilderness reader Earl Hasse reckons he’s spotted a major gaffe. He says the sign pointing to Cape Reinga and another sign pointing to Wellington are mixed up.

Hasse said if he had completed the Te Araroa Trail, he would look back over the length of New Zealand raise his arms and without crossing them, point one to the starting point at Cape Reinga and the other to Wellington, at the end of the North Island.

“According to all the maps I have seen, this would result in my left arm pointing to Cape Reinga and my right to Wellington. However, the signpost at Bluff seems to show [the opposite],” Hasse said.

Land Information New Zealand responded to queries with a map that shows the ‘straight-line’ directions from Bluff, to both Cape Reinga and Wellington, which seems to confirm Hasse’s assessment.

The sign is currently managed by the Invercargill City Council.

The council’s roading manager Russell Pearson said that they have had questions in the past about the direction of the sign and found it to be in the correct direction.

The sign has also been checked by registered surveyors over the years, as the council wants to ensure that it points in the right direction.

“When we upgraded the viewing platform a few years ago, I understood we placed a locking mechanism in the base to make sure the sign could not be turned,” Pearson said.

Invercargill City Council Member David McCormick said some of the directions on the sign aren’t 100% correct and that they get this complaint about once a year. The pole is able to be rotated if people tug on it, affecting its accuracy.

“We took this sign over from AA and just maintain it so that it is kept as an iconic sign,” McCormick said.

What do you think, readers?

– Ashleigh Martin

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