Q: WHO IS MAui?
A: Māui is Maori God, also known as Māui-tikitiki-a-Taranga. He performed a number of major feats which you will learn about on the tour.
Q: What do each of the 9 carvings represent?
A: In 1999 Toihoukura, the arts department of the Tairāwhiti Polytechnic, under the tutelage of Derek Lardelli, was commissioned by Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Porou to produce a set of carvings that would be installed on Hikurangi to commemorate the dawning of the new millennium in the year 2000. The installation, entitled “Māui Whakairo”, is made up of eight carved pou (free-standing sculptures) arranged in a circle around the central feature piece of Māui-tikitiki-a-Taranga.
Māui has been made the focus of this installation because of his importance to Ngāti Porou as a founding ancestor of the tribe. The carvings that make up the installation all relate to Māui and his whānau (family) and to some of the stories told about him.
A brief description of each of the carvings follows, however, it should be kept in mind that each one comprises many elements which space and time will not allow us to describe in detail here. Please come and join us on an experience to find out more.
Māui-tikitiki-a-Taranga: The centre piece of the collection.
Te Waha-o-Rūaumoko: Is the entrance way into “Te Ana-o-Muriranga-whenua”, “the cave of Muriranga-whenua”, wherein was contained the knowledge of all things that Māui sought to learn and possess.
Hine-rau-mā-ukuuku: Was Māui’s wife, or at least one of Māui’s wives. This carving faces outward while all the other carvings face inward towards Māui. Hinerau has the responsibility of kaikaranga (the voice of welcome) to all manuhiri (visitors).
Te Kauae-o-Muriranga-whenua: Is “the jawbone of Muriranga-whenua’” which Māui used as a hook to catch his prized fish.
Hineruru: Or “Te Kohanga-manu”, which contains “Te Punao-Tinirau” and “Te Waka-o-Ranginui”, are vessels that collect the tears of Ranginui (rain).
Te Taurapa-o-Nukutaimemha: Is “the stern or tail-piece” of Māui’s waka, Nukutaimemehā, which lies in a petrified form in the lake Takawhiti on the summit of Hikurangi. The carving faces the west and symbolises the connection of all maunga (mountains) in the direction of Taranaki to Hikurangi. It also contains the figure “Whakataupōtiki”, the guardian figure of Māui.
Irawhaaki: Was Māui’s father. In other versions of the Māui stories he was also known as Makea-tūtara. It was Irawhaaki’s mistake in performing karakia upon Māui that was to render him mortal and lead to his ultimate demise at the hands of Hinenuite-pō, the goddess of the spiritual realm. Furthermore, that Māui was destined to be someone very different from the norm who would achieve extraordinary feats.
Te Hiku-o-te-Ika: Is “the barb of the stingray” and refers to the tail-end of the fish (in some versions it was a stingray), 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. It also contains Te Umukōkako, where Hikurangi wairua (spirits) gather.
Mātāwaka: 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.
Q: ARE WE ALLOWED UP THE Maunga UNGUIDED?
Te Ara ki Hikurangi is the public walking track, however permission should be sought from Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Porou as they administer the farm (Pākīhīroa Station) at the base of the Hikurangi through which access to the mountain is obtained.
Q: CAN I DRIVE MY 4 WHEELED DRIVE UP?
No, Pakihiroa Station is a working farm therefore you are unable to access the 4 wheel track without permission. Maunga Hikurangi Experiences is the only operator with permission to access.
Q: AM I ALLOWED TO TAKE PHOTOS?
Yes you are. You are welcome to take as many photos as you like at the carvings and the guides will be happy to help. If it is safe to do so, you are able to take photos on your journey up and down the maunga, however you are unable to take photos of people working on the farm. You must obtain written permission from Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Porou if you are planning to use imagery for publications or commercial purposes.
Q: Do you have guides that speak other languages?
At this stage we have guides who speak English & Te Reo Maori. If you require a guide to speak Te Reo Maori please request at time of booking.
Q: Can I buy food and drink on the tour?
We begin and end our tours at Hati Nati cafe. As part of the experience you will be provided with a light snack showcasing Ngati Porou produce.