Moonraker is a name given to the local folk of Wiltshire, England, at a time when smuggling was a significant industry. Wiltshire was situated right on the smugglers secret route between the South Coast and the center of England, where the demand was high for a scarce and special brew.
The story, that was handed down throughout the ages, tells of some local folk who had hidden contraband barrels of smooth French brandy from custom officers in a village pond. By the natural light of a full moon the folk tried to retrieve the beverage, but the revenue men came by on their horses while on their rounds for unsuspecting smugglers. Duty bound they asked the men what they were doing, who explained themselves, as they pointed to the full moon reflection rippling in the pond. In broad accent, they explained “Why, we are raking in that beautiful round cheese, officer!” The revenue men laughed at such stupidity and trotted on by the simple yokels. But with tongue in cheek the local men held their amusement in their bellies until they returned to the tavern to tell their tale. It was the moonrakers who had the last laugh; in the words of an anonymous Wiltshire-man who recounted the event to writer Arthur Granville Bradley: ” Zo the excizman ‘as ax’d ‘n the question ad’ his grin at ‘n….but they’d a good laugh at ‘ee when ’em got whoame the stuff.”
How Moonraker Way became Moonraker Way at Split Apple Bay seems a mystery. It’s a tiny road off Tokangawha Way (Maori name for Split Apple) to the head of the 5 minute walking track down to the beach and 10 to 15 minutes back up, depending on your fitness. Although it’s a short walk, it’s not recommended for bulky pushchairs or anyone who has difficulty walking, as its steep and slippery, and in places you have to find your way between man-made steps and protruding tree roots. Parking has also been banned from the small area above the track where you can drop off your beach bags and passengers, before returning to Tokangawha Way to park you car at your own risk.
The track runs a right of way through several private properties. At the bottom, before reaching the beach, there is a single drop latrine and no drinking water, so it is advised to relieve yourself before heading back up the hill and to carry plenty of drinking water with you.
We purchased the property as a block of bush, unimaginably steep in places, without a name, but the address was “11 Moonraker Way, Split Apple Rock, Kaiteriteri”. It seemed apt to name our tree top canopy house Moonraker, when we discovered the correlation between the number 11 and the famed James Bond movie “Moonraker“, which was the eleventh James Bond movie ever made in 1979.
Anyone looking for accommodation in the Split Apple Rock location, will find an abundance of options with ‘Split Apple’ in their name one way or the other. It seemed sensible to avoid the confusion that could be caused by using the same name and thus adding to the list. So we just tell people: “Keep going until you can’t go any further and see the rock.” From there it is easy to find a warm welcome to our tree top dwelling called Moonraker House.
Further information from Wikipedia:
Made of granite, it is in the shape of an apple which has been cut in half. It is a popular tourist attraction in the waters of the Tasman Sea approximately 50 meters off the coast between Kaiteriteri and Marahau.
The rock sits in shallow water at low tide and is accessible by wading. It is also a point of interest for the many tourist boats and pleasure craft which operate along the shores of the Abel Tasman National Park.
It was made by ice wedging.
The cleft to produce two sides of the ‘apple’ was a natural occurrence. It is unknown when this happened and therefore the cleaving of the rock has attracted mythological explanations.
The name Split Apple Rock was made official in 1988, and was officially altered to Tokangawhā / Split Apple Rock in August 2014