The Pyramids of Okia Reserve

Dunedin City District

The Pyramids and the mysterious cave

This reserve is home to the longest beach on the peninsula which is named after the SS victory which ran aground in 1861. If you go there at low tide you can still see the massive fly wheel sticking up out of the ocean. The reserve itself is 231 hectare and home to heaps of wildlife and sandy bracken dunes. The Pyramids of Dunedin are also here, the little pyramid with a very cool basalt column cave that you can climb through.

History - Little Pyramid Cave - Lore and History of the South Island Maori

Several Ngati Mamoe were slain when hiding in the cave at the Little Pyramid on Kapuketereti Flat. Kumu kumu whero, behind Otakou, recalls an incident of Te Wera's raid, its reddish color being a reminder that a warrior was seen ascending the spot, his posterior being badly slashed and gory. For over sixty years the vicinity of the Little Pyramid has been the happy hunting-ground of European collectors of skulls, and the cave within, although "tapu" to the Maoris, was ransacked in the so-called interests of science during August and September, 1938, and hailed as a great discovery. The restless spirits of the slain from Te Wera's raids are said still to frequent Pipikarita on the sea coast, going to that beach to gather pipis. The present-day Maori however calls this tapu place Pipi Garhead.

Other adventures in close proximity

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I really need to start packing a flashlight

I didn't know of a cave at the time, but I saw one as soon as I got close to the little pyramid. I sat at the entrance way for quite a while taking in the beautiful day and having a bite to eat (I had no idea that this was the place of a massacre). As I entered under the low hanging rock roof the cave opened up to a good sized cavern made of those basalt columns we all love to find. I could see light at the top of the cavern and wondered what other surprises I would find. As I crept though on my hands and knees I stopped and looked back. Saw that there was a cool shot I set up my camera on the tripod and set off a long exposure. As I was sitting in the dark I felt there was something there with me. I didn't have a flash light and thought who cares about the picture. Grabbed the camera and took off at a speedy pace up to the light. Every slip I made felt like someone was going to snatch my ankle.

I got up to the top and out into some nasty spider webs and a terrible realization that I was going to be going back into the cave to get down. After building up the courage and using my camera flash about 20 times to see every part of the cave I made it back through. After reading up on the history of the place when I got home, I think I would of climbed down the cliff to avoid going in there again.

No bones found - Stu