Beating the bounds

Beating the Bounds – A new tradition for your walking patch?

Waitemata Local Board – Saturday 9th April 2011


In former times when maps were rare it was usual to make a formal perambulation of the parish boundaries on Ascension Day or during Rogation week. Knowledge of the limits of each parish needed to be handed down so that such matters as liability to contribute to the repair of the church, and the right to be buried within the churchyard were not disputed.

The ceremony had an important practical purpose. Checking the boundaries was a way of preventing encroachment by neighbours; sometimes boundary markers would be moved, or lines obscured, and a folk memory of the true extent of the parish was necessary to maintain integrity of borders by embedding knowledge in oral traditions.

The priest of the parish with the churchwardens and the parochial officials headed a crowd of boys who, armed with green boughs, usually birch or willow, beat the parish boundary markers with them. Sometimes the boys were themselves whipped or even violently bumped on the boundary-stones to make them remember.



The Route

We will walk the boundary of the Local Board area as close as we can on roads and paths.

The walk is mapped here and extends from Meola Reef  through Western Springs, Eden Terrace, Newmarket and Judges bay.

Then by sea around the water boundary.