• First Sunrise in the World

First Sunrise in the World

The first place in the world to see the sun is the beautiful Tairawhiti Gisborne area in New Zealand. It’s a completely surreal feeling to experience that first birdsong and serene rays – as one of the first people to do so on the whole planet.

You have your pick of places to head to pre-dawn – whether that’s four wheel driving up Maunga Hikurangi, tackling the steps to the East Cape lighthouse, walking the Tolaga Bay Wharf, surfing Wainui Beach or camping at Anaura Bay.

Sunrise at Maunga Hikurangi

Sunrise atop Maunga Hikurangi

Of these, the very first place to see the sun is Maunga Hikurangi, the highest non-volcanic peak in the North Island. This mountain is steeped in Maori legend. One of the best stories is of course How Maui Slowed the sun, which describes a time where the sun flew quickly across the sky, leaving no time for humans to get anything done. Maui – a Ngati Porou ancestor – trapped and fought the sun, forcing it to slow down.

The Maunga is sacred to Ngati Porou and is a key part of the tribe’s identity. It was returned to Ngati Porou from the crown in 1990, and a working farm owned by the tribe covers its foothills. The legend of Maui and sun, and others, are brought to life at dawn by the guides on the Te Urunga-Tu Sunrise experience.

There are so many options on where to head to for the Tairawhiti sunrise, many wild and remote, others easily accessible – and the likes of Maunga Hikurangi Sunrise Experience will add a profound cultural experience to your morning (as well as first-to-see-the-sun bragging rights).


October 4, 2020


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
Standing sentinel before the dawn…our whakairo (carvings) are first to see the sun every day. What will your day bring today?#tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #firstlight #gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa
On our sacred maunga, it’s a special experience to stand before nine magnificent whakairo (carvings) – each larger than life, each holding a story you can see, hear and touch 😮#tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #firstlight #gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa
Home is where the heart is! The town of Ruatoria, 25km from the foot of Maunga Hikurangi, is a central location of our iwi, Ngati Porou. It's home to the famous Ruatoria Pies, Kai Kart and our tour pickup point, the Hati Nati Café!We look forward to welcoming you here before we take you on one of our tours 🤗#tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #firstlight #ruatoria #ngatiporou
#gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa
Bundled up with helmets on, traversing the mountain slope in 4WD under a starry sky 🌠 – to marvel at otherworldly carvings. This is what you get to experience at dawn with our Te Urunga-Tu Sunrise Experience.#tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #firstlight #ruatoria #ngatiporou
#gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa
Awe-inspiring! In this shot you can really take in the presence of our neighbouring Maunga Wharekia, standing 1106m tall and proud here on the East Cape, as the clouds race behind it (taken from Maunga Hikurangi which stands at 1754m) ☁️⛰#tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #firstlight #ruatoria
#gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa
Take a look at @jesswawatai 's incredible shot during her recent sunrise tour!#tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #firstlight #gisborne #repost
Did you know the carvers of our spectacular whakairo (carvings) were taught by Sir Derek Lardelli?A Gisborne local, Lardellli is a man of many talents. He’s one of Aotearoa’s finest tā moko artists, and composed Kapa-o-pango, the new All Black haka.#tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #firstlight
#gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa
Epic contemplative sunrise photo from @east.az – who described our tour as an “unreal, authentic Maori experience.” Kia ora!📷: @east.az#tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #firstlight
#gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa #repost
Under the dark Southern skies and a blanket of brilliant stars, the Te Urunga-Tu Sunrise Experience is an adventure like no other – come discover it with us.#tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #firstlight
#gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa