The Litas Hawkes Bay
By Sarah Ferguson | @sarah_a_ferguson
Standing at the top of Te Mata Peak we wait for Brooke. Hana warns me not to slip as I position myself near the edge. We are 399 meters above the plains. Soon the distant thunder of her Harley Street Bob is heard echoing up the mountain. We watch the cliff edge eagerly for her to turn the corner in to view. My lens is focused and I’m ready to fire the shutter.
I first met The Litas Hawkes Bay earlier this year. Rosie Tong, one of the founders, rode up to Mount Maunganui on her Honda CB550four to meet up with our Auckland branch who had ridden down to the beach for a camping trip. I was so impressed with Rosie’s courage riding over 300 KMS by herself to meet up with a bunch of women she had never met before. This is why having a collective like The Litas is so wonderful. We chatted for a while and she told me the following weekend our Wellington branch were riding to Hawkes Bay and that I should ride down to hang out. This was all very exciting, The Litas were spreading all over New Zealand and this was the first time the different branches from around the country were coming together. I told her to count me in.
The following weekend I hoped on my bike and headed down to Hawkes Bay. Rosie rode to meet me halfway with Brooke Walker-Allen, one of the other founders of The Litas Hawkes Bay. Once in town The Litas Wellington arrived and together we all rode to the top of Te Mata Peak. After soaking in the view we had to hurry in order to beat the waning sun. We rode fast over the hills as twilight turned the sky from pink to purple. When we reached the beach where we were staying we cracked some beers and sat down to relax and get to know everyone. That night friendships were formed and plans were made for the future. After all was said and done I left the Bay with a full heart and an empty tank.
Once I was home in my Auckland apartment Te Mata Peak came to me in my dreams. I saw it on the backs of my eyelids when I closed my eyes. I couldn’t get the image of its expansive, sweeping views of the Heretunga Plains and the Pacific Ocean out of my head. I had to go back. I picked up my phone and messaged Rosie and Brooke. I told them I was coming back to Hawkes Bay and that I wanted to properly photograph The Litas riding up the Peak.
Three weeks later I flew down to Hawkes Bay from Auckland. A grueling work schedule left me only two days to get down there and back. Rosie met me at the airport on her CB550four, her husband Dan in tow with their pickup truck which I would shoot from. They took me to their local where we met up with Chelsea Carson, one of the other founders of The Litas Hawkes Bay and Hana (Rosie’s older sister). “Where’s Brooke?” I asked scanning the area. “She’s coming but we may have to meet her at the top, we don't have much time.” Two days earlier Brooke had sent me a message with the weather forecast for the weekend. There was a severe weather warning. Rainstorms were expected to hit and hit hard. Looking up at the sky you’d never suspect a thing. The day was perfect.
When we arrived at the top of Te Mata we looked out at the storm clouds threatening on the horizon. Daylight hours and good weather were wearing thin. We waited eagerly for Brooke to arrive.
“Here she comes!” Rosie shouted. Her Harley Street Bob is the loudest of the four bikes. It sounded like thunder roaring up the peak. I ran over to my spot in the grass near the edge and pointed my lens at the corner. When she came into view I fired away. I followed her with my camera as she got closer and closer to us. I could see the massive grin on her face through my view finder and a big smile wiped across my face too, the happiness was contagious.
The rest of the trip went by way too fast. After Te Mata, Hana handed me the keys to her beautiful pearl and purple Yamaha Virago and told me I could borrow it to ride back to Rosie’s for the night. I couldn't believe the kindness I was experiencing all around me. These incredible women that started The Litas Hawkes Bay (which now has 17 women) put in a real effort to make the weekend jam packed full of fun adventures. We rode along the beach and through mountains, we did burn outs, we stopped to explore a beautiful lake, visited the shop were Rosie’s building her CB750four, and right before I caught my plane back home they took me to visit the man, the legend, the ‘real life MacGyver’ -Monty (aka Peter Montaperto, Rosie and Hana’s father). Monty is a motorcycle mechanic and has his own motorcycle repair shop. Again I left Hawkes Bay with a full heart.
I still can’t get Te Mata Peak out of my head. It has mystical powers. It’s the sort of place you’d find a unicorn. I have come to the conclusion it’s not the view that has affected me, it’s the feeling I have gotten each time I have gone there and stood at the top with my new found motorcycle friends. We spend our whole lives seeking to do what we love and when you come across others like yourself who are doing the same, an unbreakable bond is formed There’s no other feeling that compares to looking over at your mates while you’re cruising down the street on your bikes and you see those massive grins on each others faces. No words are even needed.
@thelitas_hawkesbay #TheLitasHawkesBay #TheLitas