East Coast Mannerism

As we made a late afternoon detour southwards to Mahia Peninsula (during our trip to Gisborne), our eyes just about popped out of our heads when we saw an unusual channel of water slicing through the pasture on a hillside beneath the main highway. This narrow incision of concrete receives its flow from a watercourse running beneath the highway, and then directs the water through a long rill (complete with diagonal baffles to disrupt the flow) to the brow of a hill.

As it falls over the hillside, the water tumbles down a stepped cascade to then continue its path in a more natural, unformed manner. Our best guess for the purpose of this peculiar construction was to prevent the flow of water scouring out the hillside in this erosion-prone part of the country. However, an unintended side effect was the creation of a naïve version of the kind of fanciful, manmade watercourse that one might find in an Italian Mannerist garden.