• Te Urunga
    The Sunrise Experience

Welcome to the first light at Maunga Hikurangi

Te Urunga-Tu Sunrise Experience is a unique and unforgettable experience to greet the dawn in the land of the first light.

Be the first in the world to welcome the new day in the land of the first light. Your journey to the top begins at the base of Maunga Hikurangi (Mount Hikurangi) in Ruatoria. Under the dark Southern skies and a blanket of brilliant stars, the Te Urunga-Tu Sunrise Experience is an adventure like no other.

Bundled up with helmets on, traverse the serene landscape by 4WD, cross fertile farmland and rural pastures until you reach the first point of mainland New Zealand to see the sunrise each day.

 

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Te Urunga-Tu Sunrise Experience

Price from $260.00

Watch the world awaken surrounded by nine larger than life carved pou (pillars) that stand as sacred cultural treasures of the local Ngati Porou people.

Listen and learn as your expert Ngati Porou guide provides an in-depth and intimate story of each and every one of the carvings, who or what they represent and the significance they hold to the Maori culture.

With roots that can be traced back to the Maori creation story, to when Maui Tikitiki-a-Taranga slowed the sun, gifted us fire and fished Aotearoa from the sea. Come hear our history, explore our land and meet the descendants of Maui on Maunga Hikurangi.

Tour includes:

  • Adventure to and from Maunga Hikurangi via 4WD vehicle
  • Visit a sacred site of great Maori cultural significance
  • Incredible photo ops at world-first sunrise
  • Discover the history of the nine legendary Maori carvings
  • Authentic tour with expert Ngati Porou guide
  • Native seedling to plant as part of eco-project
  • Participation in a karakia (traditional Maori blessing)
  • Gift from the Ngati Porou tribe
  • Light breakfast atop Maunga Hikurangi all locally sourced
  • Intimate tour with a maximum of nine people
  • Duration 4 hours (approx)
  • Bookings essential

 

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Plan Your Trip

 

Self Drive

Make your way to Ruatoria via a stunning coastal drive up along the iconic State Highway 35. Pass stunning beachside communities, epic surf and rural countryside with the vast Pacific Ocean hugging the pristine coastline.

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Helicopter

Journey to Maunga Hikurangi across land, sea and sky with our Helicopter experience. This fully customisable, once in a lifetime experience can be designed to suit your travel requirements including transfers.

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Accommodation

With an early start to catch that sunrise, stay with one of our local accommodation providers. Overnight on State Highway 35 and take some time to explore the hidden gems of Tairawhiti.

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  • My husband and I have just done the early morning sunrise tour. It was a very special experience for us and we would highly recommend it to everyone.

    WendyG84
    Whakatane, New Zealand

  • He gave us an informative and interesting talk about the carvings, and the history of Ngati Porou - both distant and recent. Everyone in the group was very impressed.

    8Hazel8
    Auckland, New Zealand

  • At the site of the phenomenal carvings, Monty shared the stories of Ngati Porou - just fascinating. The picnic was delicious and elegantly presented. A most excellent adventure for visitors from far and near.

    Elisabeth E
    Auckland, New Zealand

FOLLOW US

@kaupoi_adventurer was lucky enough to be one of the first people in the world to experience the sunrise of a new day with the rangatahi programs.#tairawhitigisborne #repost #maungahikurangi #firstlight
#gisborne #sunrise #rangatahi #rangatahiprogramme
Watch the world awaken on the highest non-volcanic peak on the North Island, amongst the sacred cultural treasures of the Ngāti Porou people. ⛰☀️#tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #firstlight
#gisborne #sunrise
Check out @eruera.walker perfectly capturing the clouds hugging our Maunga Hikurangi! ☁️⛰#tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #firstlight
#gisborne #repost #clouds
These are our guardians of the first light. The 9 carvings at the top of Maunga Hikurangi depict Māui and his whānau.
#tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #firstlight
#gisborne #sunrise #maui #guardians
Mōrena from our guide Monty, as we welcome in the new day in the land of the first light! ☀️#tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #firstlight
#gisborne #sunrise
Our main guide Monty sharing a little insight into what a tour up Maunga Hikurangi could look like for you.  As he mentions, this place is sacred to him and his family. Monty has many historical and cultural stories to share with you. Repost thanks to 🎥 @purenewzealand and our friends at @tairawhitigisbornenz
#maunga #maungahikurangi #eastcoast #tairawhiti #tairawhitigisborne #gisborne#northisland #newzealand #nz #nzmustdo#nztourism
The second to last carving! This one is named Mātāwaka and refers to all waka and waka traditions representing ancestors of iwi and hapū of Te Tairāwhiti — Horouta, Mangārara, Nukutere, Te Ikaroa-a-Rauru, Tauira-mai-tawhiti, Tohorā, Tereanini, Takitimu, tāmira, Hotutāihirangi, Tai-o-puapua, Te Rarotuamāheni, raiteuru and others. Nukutaimemeha, however, being the principal waka.#nagtiporou #destinationsnz #mustdonz #nzmustdo #newzealand #newzealandvacations #gisbornenz #sunriseoftheday #beautifulnature #newzealandvacations #tairawhiti #firstlightnz #tairawhitigisbornenz
Te Hiku-o-te-Ika: Is “the barb of the stingray” and refers to the tail-end of the fish, establishing a connection to the people of the north, the tailend of the stingray.
This carving also incorporates Hinenui-tepō and “Te tatau o te pō — the gateway to the spirit world”, which is accessed through Te Hiku-o-te-ika at a place called Te Rerenga Wairua, more commonly known now as Cape Reinga in Northland.
Also featured here, a magnificent view from the maunga!
Irawhaaki was Māui’s father who played a key part in Māui's extraordinary feats. This intriguing story and others are told by our guides up the maunga as part of our experiences!#nagtiporou #destinationsnz #mustdonz #nzmustdo #newzealand #newzealandvacations  #gisbornenz #sunriseoftheday #beautifulnature #newzealandvacations #tairawhiti #firstlightnz #tairawhitigisbornenz
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