Riverton · 18 Jan 2021

Mal’s Roadie – Heading West

Malcolm Gayfer

Malcolm Gayfer


Ever have those days when you’ve just got to get out and head to the wide open spaces?

I had one yesterday, the weather was perfect and well, I just thought, why not?

My main mission was to take some pics of what’s left of the old buildings at Orepuki. I had taken some a while back but they’ve vanished.

First stop was Riverton, the wonderful coastal town never fails to disappoint.

Ask yourself, how many RSA’s have a working Piano out by the front door? Yes it does play, well the couple of keys I tried worked.

Piano at Riverton RSA….’ere, give us a tune. whatsoninvers.nz/Mal Gayfer

Just along the street is the beautiful and historic St Mary The Virgin Church. Looks to still be in good condition lets hope it stays that way for many years to come.

St Mary The Virgin Church at Riverton. whatsoninvers/Mal Gayfer

Turn right once over bridge and head west let your car follow the road.

A slight deviation off the highway and on to Tihaka Lookout and expansive views over the ocean and Colac Bay.

Looking out across Colac Bay from Tihaka Lookout…amazing! whatsoninvers/Mal Gayfer

Onwards we go, eventually arriving at Orepuki.

Situated on the coast at Te Wai wai bay and at the foot of The Longwood Range, Orepuki was once a thriving settlement that saw fortunes made in gold, coal, shale and forestry. Sadly they have all but disappeared but farming activity around Orepuki continues.

Adamson & Son – Outfitters Orepuki. Now a sad sight. Would’ve been a focal point for the community. whatsoninvers.nz/Mal Gayfer

Maori had settled in the area well before European settlers arrived with Italians among the first to work the goldfields. Didn’t know that.


Beyond repair.
whatsoninvers.nz/Mal Gayfer

Orepuki was also an important rail junction point which enabled its produce to be freighted to Invercargill and beyond in a timely and efficient manner. The water tower and loading ramp are all that’s left.

Old railway water tower. whatsoninvers/Mal Gayfer

From what I could see the only active businesses there are the Cafe and Tavern. Didn’t have time to sample either on this trip.

Now for what’s left of Orepuki, as you can see history hasn’t been kind to these buildings and most are well past their best.

Old rail loading ramp-Orepuki. whatsoninvers/Mal Gayfer

Will rail make a comeback to these parts? Can’t see it, can you?

If you want to start something special in Orepuki, try this old workshop out. Sheree Williams at Mike Pero will give all the details

Old workshop. Time for a new lease on life?

Lastly, if you are going out and about, take in the sights of what’s happening on our farms. After all with much of our farm based produce exported to all corners, it definitely helps feed the world.

Sheep at work. whatsoninvers/Mal Gayfer
Bales of feed for the winter

Let’s be clear, as Orepuki is coastal, it can get windy here, very windy. These trees have stood up to more than a few gales.

Trees that have stood up to what the weather has thrown at them over many years. whatsoninvers/Mal Gayfer

Come on out, plenty to see and take in and I only scratched the surface. We can’t go overseas so take some time to have a look see in our own back yard……and take your camera.

That’s Mal’s Roadie, might head in the other direction next time.