by Geoffrey Churchman

Traffic as it used to be just south of Paekakariki; this photo was taken on the clear summer day of 31 December 2019.

Although I now take the TG route when driving north to Waikanae from Wellington, I decided to see what might have changed on the old route in the last 2 weeks — and it’s almost nothing. The rough macadam just north of the Tawa interchange remains that way with a 70 km/h speed limit. Presumably the NZTA will repair it before long.

Once past Porirua, the traffic is noticeably down but not hugely so.

There are still those 4 sets of traffic lights through Plimmerton which you’ll be doing well not to have one against you.

It’s north of Plimmerton where the former traffic has largely gone, which is no surprise.

Those 5 km between Pukerua Bay and Paekakariki (photo above) were the scenic highlight of the journey by both road and rail and nothing on the new route matches it. Now it is more like what driving over it 60 — 70 years ago would have been like.

Paekakariki seems to have the same amount of activity in its small main street as it long has, and an inquiry of the Perching Parrot café — which gained a lot of admiration with their opposition to Jacinda’s vax passes — produced the response that they’re as busy as ever. Probably very few long distance motorists chose to make it a refreshment stop.

Pulling back into into the state highway, there isn’t the wait for a gap in the traffic stream that there used to be — great! Reaching the merge with the new SH1, the length of it and the sightlines are no problem.

A textile craft work on the wall of the Perching Parrot café, which is pretty much what Paekakariki means: perch of the green parrot. Below it are tins of specialty teas.