• About Maunga Hikurangi – Ngati Porou’s crown jewel

About Maunga Hikurangi – Ngati Porou’s Crown Jewel

Maunga Hikurangi stands proud as the highest peak in the Raukumara ranges at 1754m – in fact, it is the highest non-volcanic peak in the North Island, its summit of alpine scree jutting into the sky. This height, and its easterly position, means Maunga Hikurangi is the first point in the world to see the sun’s rays every day. These qualities make it an incredibly sacred place to Ngati Porou – it features heavily in legend and it is a core part of our identity. It is also important as a place of abundant wildlife and food resources.


Maunga Hikurangi Gisborne


The mountain is steeped in Maori legend. When the demi-god Maui (founding ancestor of the Ngati Porou people) caught the giant fish that became the North Island, Maunga Hikurangi was the first point to be pulled up from the sea. The mountain is also said to be where Maui’s canoe now rests.

The nine larger than life carvings that stand on the mountain – an installation entitled Te Takapau a Maui – are related to Maui, his whanau (family) and his legends. The carvings were created by students from Toihoukura under the guidance of Sir Derek Lardelli and put in place in 2000 to commemorate the dawning of the new millennium, and their exquisite shapes and stories can be explored on the Te Urunga-Tu Sunrise experience.


To us, of Ngati Porou, the mountain is tied to who we are – you’ll hear it always in any of our mihi (introductory speeches):

Ko Hikurangi te maunga, Ko Waiapu te awa, Ko Ngāti Porou te iwi
(Hikurangi is the mountain I affiliate to, Waiapu the river, and Ngati Porou the tribe).

In the 1870s the crown took ownership of the mountain and surrounds and turned it into a state forest park. In 1990, 3780 hectares was returned to Ngati Porou – including Maunga Hikurangi. Pakihiroa Farm on the foothills of Maunga Hikurangi is Ngati Porou’s biggest operation, producing high quality sheep, beef and wool for export and employing many in the community.

Natural beauty

The mountain is the only known natural habitat of the Hikurangi tutu (Coriaria pottsiana). The nearby Raukumara forest park is rich with iconic native trees such as rata, rimu, tawa, kahikatea and beech – and birds are plentiful including tui, fantail, kereru, and even kaka and kiwi. Introduced deer and pigs make hunting a popular pastime (and source of local wild food) in the area as well. Deer and pigs, along with possums, rats and stoats, are pests that drive native species to local extinction and also destroy the ngahere (forest).

There is a public walking track that leads to the summit, but visitors must always contact Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou before arriving because sometimes the track is closed for cultural or farming (eg lambing) reasons.

November 1, 2020


Happy New Year! While each and every sunrise is a magical moment we never get tired of, there’s something extra special about the first sunrise of the year, a sign of a prosperous and fulfilling year ahead 👐☀🌄

#tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #mthikurangi #firstlight #gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa #newzealand #nzmustdo #happynewyear
Meri Kirihimete from the Maunga Hikurangi team 🎅🎄 We hope you all have a fantastic festive season with all your loved ones, friends and family!

📷: @nzstuff

#tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #mthikurangi #firstlight #gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa #newzealand #nzmustdo #merikirihimete #nzchristmas
Hikurangi Maunga Track Closed 🚫

Tena tatau, we wish to advise that the Hikurangi track, hut and the Maunga Hikurangi tours are closed until further notice. This closure will be reviewed in early 2022, please check for track status updates on the Maunga Hikurangi website and the Department of Conservation website (search for DOC Hikurangi). 

Ngā manaakitanga, Te Runanganui o Ngāti Porou & Pakihiroa Farms Ltd
The nine carvings that stand on top of Maunga Hikurangi represent the legends of Maui and his whanau.

Maui, the founding ancestor of the Ngati Porou people, tells his story through these pou.

See the intricate and exceptionally detailed carvings with your own eyes to truly experience the telling of the legends for yourself.

📷: @mate_szecsei 

#nzspring #tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #mthikurangi #firstlight #gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa
The views are endless as you hike Maunga Hikurangi. A great tip from Lisa: ‘Bring plenty of layers, a sense of adventure, and coffee for the sunrise. Leave at home the fear of heights if you can.’

A challenging hike that is well worth the effort. You may even get to see some iconic kiwi wildlife as you head up there. 🐑⛰

📷: @lisaexploreku

#nzspring #tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #mthikurangi #firstlight #gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa
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