• 7 Things to Pack for your Te Urunga-Tu Sunrise Experience

Watching the world awaken at dawn from a spot high on Maunga Hikurangi, surrounded by nine enormous carvings and listening to the fascinating stories about them, is an all-consuming experience. When you ascend Maunga Hikurangi by starlight with our local Ngati Porou guides to do just that, there are a few things to bring that will make the tour even better or more comfortable.

Here’s our list of 7 things we recommend packing:


Picture this: the golden hour of sunrise and magnificently carved pillars in the foreground. The sun rises, the clouds slowly brighten from a rosy pink to a fiery red, and the clear sky gets that pinky-orange blush fading up to a vibrant blue. There’s no photo opportunity quite like it. And once the sun is up, it casts a warm glow over the magnificent farmland, forest, and other peaks around you. All this combined with good friends, the carvings and the stories from the guides makes for some photos with seriously amazing vibes!

Whether it’s a proper DSLR that you have, or simply the camera on your phone, you’ll want to capture these moments forever.

Appropriate footwear

When exploring New Zealand’s stunning high country, be prepared for the ground not being perfectly level. A solid, stable pair of shoes will go a long way. The site has a lot of loose rock especially when clambering up to the higher plateau to take photos, so boot-type footwear with a heel is recommended; think of it as your brake when descending. The site can also be quite wet if there has been recent rain, so reliable footwear is a must. Also, because you will be riding an all-terrain quad to reach the plateau, open-toed shoes are not permitted.

Layers of Clothing

Even if you’re doing the sunrise experience in summer, that pre-dawn mountainside chill while you’re waiting for the sun to come up can really bite. So make sure you’re dressed for the occasion. The weather can also be highly changeable in a mountain environment – that perfect clear-sky weather forecast can turn grey in an instant.

Wearing a warm base layer with a jacket on top makes all the difference, and a warm hat and gloves keep those extremities cosy. Pack a raincoat into a backpack too, just in case!


We provide headlamps, but you may wish to bring your own if you have one that fits you well and that you prefer using on outdoor adventures. It makes for a smoother ascent with a light source strapped to your forehead rather than having to carry one by hand!


At sunrise, the sun is obviously much closer to eye level than it is during the day. On a clear morning, keep those peepers comfortable with some good UVA/UVB-screening sunglasses.

Image: @nance.reed04 via Instagram

Gardening gloves

These are not compulsory, but for those with more sensitive hands it may be preferable to bring a preferred pair of gardening gloves; you will have the opportunity to plant a seedling as part of the eco-project on the maunga, which is fantastic for the environment and also for the soul.

Your appetite

We provide some delicious kai (food) on the mountain after your sunrise experience. Locally sourced and presented in a harakeke (flax) basket, we endeavour to be sustainable in all that we do. We also strive to deliver some delicious local East Coast hospitality!

We hope you enjoy your Te Urunga-Tu Sunrise Experience. Take the right gear, soak up the atmosphere, and enjoy this sunrise journey through Ngati Porou culture and history.

May 5, 2021


Dreaming of visiting Maunga Hikurangi? Put the hike on your summer to-do list!

Find your adventure streak, and tackle the maunga so you can be at the top when the first ray of light makes its way over the horizon. 🌄

📷: @travelphotoskiwi 

#tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #mthikurangi #firstlight #gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa
Nothing beats a golden sunrise! ☀ The views over the mountainous ranges look stunning as the light fills the sky. 

📷: @the_wanderer_photographer 

#tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #mthikurangi #firstlight #gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa
If you’re travelling along the East Coast this season, add Te Waha o Rerekohu – the largest Pohutukawa Tree in New Zealand – to your list of sightseeing activities! Pop into a local café on your way to your next destination 🌳🏖

📷: @purenewzealand 

#nzspring #tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #mthikurangi #firstlight #gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa #tewahaorerekohu #pohutukawa
As winter fades, the misty maunga is changing to welcome the earlier sunrises that spring is bringing! ⛰

Our tour up Mount Hikurangi to watch the sun rise over the surrounding mountains and valley is even more stunning during this time of year. 

Find out more here about our Te Urunga Sunrise Experience on our website. 

#nzspring #tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #mthikurangi #firstlight #gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa
Mountain mist surround Irawhaaki, one of the nine carvings on Mount Hikurangi.

We are looking forward to sharing his story with you once we reopen our Maunga Hikurangi tours at level 1. 

Until then, stay safe in your bubble and enjoy the extra time you have to soak up the sunshine when it makes an appearance.

📷: Eric Hanson for @purenewzealand 

#nzspring #tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #mthikurangi #firstlight #gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa
Even though our world may feel very disconnected right now, our respect for the sun and its attributes may connect us than we think. 

Now feels like the perfect time to learn about how other cultures also respect the sun. We look at a few in a recent blog. 

Visit our website’s blog section to

📷: @whencyclopedia 

#nzspring #tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #mthikurangi #firstlight #gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa #isegrandshrine
As our day begins and the sun rises over the maunga, we encourage you all to take a moment to step outside and appreciate the sun’s rays. 

These times during lockdown can be unpredictable. But just taking a moment to appreciate what we have around us will make this time more enjoyable. 

We hope you are keeping safe, and we look forward to welcoming you back soon. Kia haumaru te noho 🌄

📷: Eric Hanson for @purenewzealand 

#tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #mthikurangi #firstlight #gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa #nzlockdown
We love seeing the morning sun casting its rays on Maunga Hikurangi – it never gets old! The nine carved pou (pillars) depict Maui and his whanau, and they stand on the maunga waiting for the sun to rise each morning. 🌞🌄 

📷: @jesswawatai 

#nzwinter #tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #mthikurangi #firstlight #gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa #maui
The seed planting that all visitors get to take part in on one of our tours is for the purpose of native plant re-generation on Maunga Hikurangi. Local, native trees in Raukumara Forest Park include rata, rimu, tawa, totara, kahikatea and beech. 🍒🌲

Be part of the eco-project by joining one of our tours, and experience the incredible views - perfect for a photo opportunity!

Discover more on the ‘Experiences’ page of our website.

📷: @belinda.macdonald 

#nzwinter #tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #mthikurangi #firstlight #gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa #kahikateaberries
Winter is upon us, yet the sun still rises each morning over Maunga Hikurangi. Join us for a day of culture on our Haramai Day Tour Experience! Stand with nine huge, carved sculptures as you listen to stories of our local history.

Find out more on our website under ‘Experiences’. 

#nzwinter #tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #mthikurangi #firstlight #gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa #suncarvings