There’s more to Cape Foulwind than a lighthouse with a seal colony, the Steeples rock formations offshore and Tauranga Bay nearby.
Māori knew the Cape as Tauranga which refers to the sheltered anchorage the bay provided for voyaging canoes (waka). It was also used as a resting place as they travelled the coastal areas by foot and by sea. Abel Tasman sighted the Cape on 14 December 1642 and named it Rocky point. In 1770 it was named a “place of foul winds” by Captain Cook when his ship was beset by gales and wind. Major European settlement began in the 1860’s when the settlers established flax/harakeke and timber mills.
The seal colony is part of a series along the Tauranga Bay-Cape Foulwind-Steeples coastline and is one of six breeding colonies on the West Coast. The fur seals have chosen Cape Foulwind to breed because of its rocky shore with suitable ‘haul-out’ spots and food rich sea.
As well as seals we caught a pair of bathing Homo sapiens taking the waters in Tauranga Bay.