Mokai – meaning servant, captive or slave in maori, is a small place located approximately 30 km north west of Taupo. It’s better known for its geothermal Power Station and lush farmlands than a holiday destination.
I found out about Mokia solely by chance after selling a cellphone on trademe.
The lady who brought the phone came into our framing gallery to pick it up and while she was there she noticed one of my photos hanging on the wall. It was of an old house just out of Taihape. It turned out that that house was her grandparents. So that lead into a great conversation about her experiences growing up there and how the photo came to be.
As we talked, she became aware of my love of the countryside and my love of photographing old farmhouses and abandoned machinery. In fact she was probably thinking. “You sound like a Mokai to it.” And she’d be right. Because I absolutely love it. It’s my shameless, blissful addiction. She then told me. “You need to go to Mokai.” Mokia was another place that was apart of her upbringing and the buildings there were apparently in a similar state of disrepair as the photo of her grandparents old house.
From what she’d told me and from what i had seen on Google Maps, I couldn’t wait to go there.
This is old Mokai. Photo taken in 1963 by Pimian
So off I went.
Of course I was presented with other finds along the way that i just couldn’t drive by or through without stopping to take a shot.
Welcome to Mokai today
Literality blink and your’d miss it. The road that is shown running through the township in the 1963 photo appears to have been moved further away and that land reclaimed.
This building below may have been the local service station. Another photo i found of this building showed it had a petrol pump standing out front. It was so disappointing to find it had gone.
Out the back it had an old tractor and various bites of machinery. Maybe they were there for repairs? Stiff out of luck by the looks of things.
A lot of the buildings had obviously been removed or destroyed making way for more productive farmland and there was a big gap between these and the next remaining structure. This one was being eaten alive by vines.
And then around back.
AND THAT IS MOKAI