On the southern tip of New Zealand’s South Island, you’ll find a town with a name that sounds like it could be the source of an American movie: sea stacks.
The harbour town of Wairarapa is home to some of the world’s most extraordinary and spectacular sea stacks, which can be seen from a boat in the harbour or from the top of the Wairau mountain, which is part of the South Island’s Mount Cook National Park.
The stacks are more than 100 metres high, which makes them a challenging place to explore.
But they have also inspired an array of art, literature, and science fiction stories, as well as a number of films.
“When you get a sea stack, it’s a little bit like a window to a world,” said Wairuarapa-based artist and historian Sarah Hargreaves.
“It’s an interesting experience, but also an opportunity for exploration and discovery.”
What is a sea floor?
A sea floor is a layer of sediment that forms where the land meets the sea.
When the sea level rises and falls, the sea floor can move inland, and then disappear.
At its deepest, sea floors reach about 250 metres (1,200 feet).
The deepest sea levels are about 3,000 metres (10,500 feet), and can be found in places such as the Antarctic Peninsula, which covers the entire continent.
The water level in a sea layer varies, as it rises and dips along the coastline.
This is the source from which a lot of the artwork on the sea stacks is drawn, and it’s also where a lot is found on a daily basis.
“The water in the sea layer changes as it moves inland, so it changes every day,” said Sarah Hargeaves.
“If you see a sea shelf, it is the layer that you’re looking at.
It’s a layer that is the bedrock.”
The water is so thick in the South Islands that sea stacks are known as “puffs” on the island chain, and the thickness of the water can vary widely from one location to the next.
“You can walk into Wairuaarapa and see a stack of sea shelves,” said Hargeoves.
“But if you go to Wairupapuapu, they’re only about 50 metres tall.”
The layers are created by sedimentary layers in the ocean that have broken apart in the past.
These break up over time, as they accumulate and settle on the seafloor.
Sea stacks are created when sedimentary rocks break apart into smaller pieces, which gradually migrate to the surface.
Wairupapa- based artist Sarah Haffes says the water level at Wairurapa is one of the most unique in the region.
“Wairuarsaarapa has a pretty extraordinary, beautiful sea stack in the centre of the town,” she said.
“That is the reason why it’s so interesting.”
Sea stacks have a rich history of people and culture, including the people who built them.
Wairauarapa town was founded by the Kakaapua people who lived there in the late 1800s.
They have since been referred to as the “people’s people” because they had a strong sense of community.
“They built these sea stacks for themselves and their neighbours, and they have an amazing sense of history,” said Ms Hargeves.
“We have a very strong connection to them.”
Wairarapoachapa is an area of South Island New Zealand where people have a history of making the sea stack.
And Wairaarapoacumutua, which means “sea island”, is an old Aboriginal term for a stack, meaning a place of significance to the people.
Wauarakahinaamua, the Wailurapa-Māori language spoken by the people, is used to describe the stacks.
In the South Isles, the name sea stack was created to honour the people that made the land stack.
“Sea stacks were used to transport food and fuel between different islands, so they’re the reason they’re so important,” said Mr Hargehes.
“As you get closer to the top, the water becomes more concentrated.”
So when you see the water stack at the bottom, you know you’ve reached the top.
“What are the benefits of a sea-stack?
In the 1950s, Wairaruapa-built Wairasaarua was the first to build a sea wall.
It was made of a layer made of sedimentary rock that was transported inland by the wind, and a sandstone slab that was pushed into place.
But in the 1960s, the sandstone was removed and the sand slab was replaced with a layer called a sea top.
What is the history of Wailuarapu?
The original Wailuaarape village of Waimarapa was founded