Waikanae River Taniwha?

Several sightings of an unidentified creature have been reported lately to Pullet Surprise. Descriptions of the creature range from ‘large serpent’ to ‘sea yeti’ to ‘fractal Buddha image’. Unfortunately, in case of public ridicule, none of the witnesses is prepared to be named.

A number of local Maori have long understood that, at times of stress or crisis for the river, these manifestations will take place. It has been speculated that the sightings have begun occurring in response to threatened harm to the river and local environment should the McKays to Peka Peka diversion of State Highway One across the lower reaches of the river proceed.

‘They say it’s the bones in the whenua,’ stated a spokesperson for the Iuteikamore Land Trust. ‘They’re everywhere around there thousands died in battle in that area and it’s very tapu. It’s the river and the land saying, in my belief, ‘Don’t do this!’ The taniwha is awakened.’

On one occasion a middle aged women was out walking her dog along the north side of the river just below the Otaihanga footbridge. ‘Suddenly Jessie got very nervous,’ she said, ‘and started growling at a strange light that appeared to emerge from, and hover above, the water near the far bank. Luckily I had my smartphone on me and took these.’

The pictures we saw were of good quality, considering the poor light at the time. The light and its reflection in the water produced a Buddha statue-like image. In case it was an unusual weather related phenomenon we sought the opinion of weather expert and scientist Dr Kim Lassinger.

‘I’ve seen these types of images before,’ he said. ‘They look like a Buddha statue lying on its side. However this is actually a fractal shape and in recent years fractal light images like this have been linked to a phenomenon loosely referred to as ‘quantum flux leakage’ or, ‘inter-dimensional crossover event’. It’s not something I personally subscribe to but I think there is merit in having the conversation. Science must always keep an open mind.’

One of the most curious reports was from a man who spotted what he thought was a large lump of kelp half submerged at the river mouth. I thought ‘Excellent! I’ll grab this. Kelp, if you chop it up, really does wonders for the garden. So I tried to coax it in with a pole I found. Suddenly the thing turns into some sort of creature and half rises up out of the water. It bellows at me like a great ape. I have never been so terrified in my life. I’ll tell you what it looked like a bloody yeti. It had hair all over and intelligent eyes and it was bigger than a human. I turned and began to run away but just then I heard a great splash so I stopped and looked. It was back in the water and heading out into the Tasman really fast. Then I noticed that it didn’t actually have legs but instead had a dirty great tail and flippers like a mermaid type of thing.’

We approached El Rancho Holiday Park management to ask if any staff or camp users had knowledge of these strange sightings but received a terse refusal. ‘This is a Christian establishment,’ we were told, ‘and there’s no way we would entertain such devilish notions.’

However an anonymous staff member contacted us subsequently and said that a group of boys staying at the camp had reported seeing an extremely large snake with fins and a dragon’s head very early one morning when they gone down to the river, without permission, to try and catch a large ‘eel’ they had heard about.

‘When they told us about it they were told to keep quiet about it or they wouldn’t be enrolled in any more camps. One of them was really upset and crying and went on the creature’s glowing red eyes. I must admit it sent a chill down my spine.’

‘Bolix!’ commented a man sipping a cappuccino in the Coastlands food hall. ‘Nutters’.