• 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

Everyone who does our Te Urunga-Tu Sunrise tour has a unique experience. Greeting the sun’s first rays and planting a native seedling is truly memorable. If you’ve made it to the top of our maunga, what was your highlight?#tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #firstlight #gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa
Aside from the beautiful views and landscape, our tours also offer a taste of local cuisine and produce. This nourishing lunch prepared by Hati Nati café of kumara salad, kangawaru (a sweetbread made from kumara, corn grit and flour), fruit and juice is a welcome bite after pushing to the top of our maunga! Well done, and hello world! 🥪🌱#tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #firstlight #gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa
No one can deny the comfort and warmth of a classic Kiwi pie. But what about a paua pie? This unique spin on a cultural fave is what roadside hot spot, Café 35 in Tokomaru Bay,has become known for. So stop in and step up your pie game today! 🥧☕📸: @cafe35toko#cafe35 #tokomarubay #tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #firstlight #ruatoria #gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa
If you find the stories behind each of our carvings as compelling and as moving as we do, we recommend stopping by Tairāwhiti
Museum in the Gisborne city centre while you’re here.The taonga Māori collection of worked stone and wood carvings is a beautiful series of donations and loans that deepen our regional story. Some larger taonga have recently been restored and rehoused.📸: @tairawhiti_museum#tairawhitimuseum #tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #firstlight #ruatoria #ngatiporou #gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa
Each of our nine breath-taking carvings has a unique story to tell, and each of those stories is an important piece in the overarching legend of Maui, a founding member of the Ngati Porou tribe. Here is Hine-rau-ma-ukuuku, a wife of Maui. Hinerau has the significant responsibility of welcoming all manuhiri (visitors) to our sacred maunga. Her warmth radiates even on a misty morning, as you climb to the top to greet the sun ☀#maui #hinerau #tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi
#firstlight #ruatoria #ngatiporou #gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa
Today is the big day for Maunga to Moana competitors! Good luck to each and every one of you. We welcome you warmly to the top of our sacred maunga in Stage 1 of the race!
🏃‍♀️⛰🚵‍♀️📷: @m2m_adventure#m2m2021 ##tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #firstlight #ruatoria #gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa
Road tripping the East Cape? Stop over on State Highway 35 for an awe-inspiring experience off the beaten track that you’ll never forget: Maunga Hikurangi#maungahikurangi #tairawhitigisborne #firstlight
#gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa
East Coast magic! Just a wee throwback to the annual December Kaiaua beach races at Tolaga Bay an hour south from the Maunga – here out East we live life to the fullest!📷: Tairawhiti Gisborne
#beachraces #carpediem #adventure ##tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #firstlight #gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa
Wow – ever wondered what it would feel like to stand on the very top of our Maunga when dusted in snow? Epic photo from LWimages featured on Epic Trails ⛰🧗‍♂️#tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #firstlight #gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa
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