My place is Opepe, a former settlement on the Napier-Taupo telegraph line road and scene of one of the most amusing incidents in New Zealand history! Since that settlement itself has long since been abandoned the place is a little hard to find. You leave Taupo on the Napier-Taupo Road (SH5) and follow it for about 16km. On the left side of the road is a little carpark and a sign that says "Opepe Historic Graves".
You can take a (5 min) walk up to see the graves of the 10 or so men who died when Opepe was a base for the Armed Constabulary - the settler militia who acted like rural police in early NZ.
More interesting is a meander over to the right side of the road. Walk straight across the road from the Opepe carpark and then walk east towards Napier for about 200m or so. You'll see a track with a chain across it head down into a gully. There's a big old sign that's barely readable, an old well and the remains of an old Building. You'd be hard pressed to believe that the bare grass was once a whole town that had a hotel and a post office.
The best part of this place is the story that goes with it... On the 7th of June 1869, the Armed Constabulary camp at Opepe was attacked by Te Kooti - a fascinating renegade who escaped from the Chatham Islands, founded his own religion and remained a fugitive from New Zealand government for almost his entire life. The Armed Constabulary were taken entirely by suprise. So much by suprise in fact that George Croswell, one of the men at the camp at the time, had to flee for his life entirely naked since he was drying his clothes before the attack. He then ran 40 miles through thick bush with no shoes, not a stitch on to a place called Fort Galatea to raise the alarm!
Perhaps we instead of the Marathon we should run the 'Galatea' at the Olympics!
Good photos of the site (lost mine when my computer was stolen): http://www.jeffpylenz.com/ALBUMS/CENTRAL%20PLATEAU%20-%20Battlesites/photos/Opepe%20-%20Armed%20Constabulary%20Redoubt%20-%20sign.html
Wikipedia Entry on Te Kooti: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Te_Kooti's_War
Directions to the site (scroll down): http://www.nzhta.org.nz/Journals/May2005/Waikato_War_sites.pdf
An account of the actual attack from Croswell 'Galatea Runner' : http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-Cow02NewZ-c33.html
EDIT: Could someone please tell me how to hyperlink my URLs? I know it's a stupid question but the link button seems to always be greyed out. And when I try to post photos, nothing's uploading either. I'm using latest version of Safari.
[Moderator edit (MF): hyperlinked. Select text, click the button. If writing a URL it should also automatically hyperlink, but may not work on Safari]