• Our Story

Ngati Porou identity

The identity and strength of Ngati Porou are enduring like Hikurangi, the maunga (mountain) cast up by Maui from the depths of the ocean.

It was the first point of Aotearoa to emerge and the resting place of Nukutaimemeha. Although Ngati Porou are a resolute and resilient iwi, they remain flexible and fluid like the iconic Waiapu River. The unique and inspiring stories of Ngati Porou illustrate pragmatic leadership and innovation, which has empowered whanau to evolve and adapt, so that the diversity of the hapu (tribe) and richness of the culture is maintained.

In 2018, Ngati Porou created Ngati Porou Tourism to let more people visit their scared maunga.  Ngati Porou Tourism is the only commercial operator with permission to provide guided tours of Maunga Hikurangi.

A rich history

Ngati Porou have a rich history of regional unity, pivotal leadership and definitive values.

We share a magnificent landscape and abundance of natural resources, characterised by hardworking and vibrant communities. The Ngati Porou story is the culmination of generations of innovation, endeavour, resilience and culture directly linking to the whenua of Ngati Porou. This creates a unique foundation of whanau, whairawa, rangatiratanga, kaitiakitanga and matauranga. These represent five pou (pillars), which signal the direction that Ngati Porou are heading as an iwi. Since the mid 1980’s, Ngati Porou have engaged in a period of economic recovery. Despite advances over the last decades, sustained growth and shared prosperity remains a constant aspirational goal for the iwi.

About Maunga Hikurangi

As the highest non-volcanic peak on the North Island, Maunga Hikurangi is the first place in the world to see the sunrise.

Rising above the rural community of Ruatoria, Maunga Hikurangi, or Mount Hikurangi is 1,752 m (5,748 ft) tall and is a site of cultural significance for the local Ngati Porou people. It is believed to the first part of the Aotearoa that emerged from the sea when Maui fished up the North Island.

Maui and his whanau

Like guardians in the land of the first light, the nine larger than life carvings atop Maunga Hikurangi depict the legends of Maui and his whanau.

Each intricately carved pou (pillar) is free-standing and depicts the story of Maui as the founding ancestor of the Ngati Porou people.

Commissioned by Te Runanga o Ngati Porou for the commemorative dawn of the new millennium in the year 2000, the incredible craftmanship and spiritual connection to the people and the land that these carvings manifest is truly exceptional and one-of-a-kind.

FAQs

Check out our most commonly asked questions. From bringing a camera, to whether to bring food. You can find our answers here.

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Experiences

Welcome to our sacred place in the sun Stand before nine magnificent whakairo (carvings) – each larger than life, each holding a story you can see, hear and touch on top of a sacred maunga (mountain).

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Contact

If you have any questions or require any assistance then we are here to help.

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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

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@kaupoi_adventurer was lucky enough to be one of the first people in the world to experience the sunrise of a new day with the rangatahi programs.#tairawhitigisborne #repost #maungahikurangi #firstlight
#gisborne #sunrise #rangatahi #rangatahiprogramme
Watch the world awaken on the highest non-volcanic peak on the North Island, amongst the sacred cultural treasures of the Ngāti Porou people. ⛰☀️#tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #firstlight
#gisborne #sunrise
Check out @eruera.walker perfectly capturing the clouds hugging our Maunga Hikurangi! ☁️⛰#tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #firstlight
#gisborne #repost #clouds
These are our guardians of the first light. The 9 carvings at the top of Maunga Hikurangi depict Māui and his whānau.
#tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #firstlight
#gisborne #sunrise #maui #guardians
Mōrena from our guide Monty, as we welcome in the new day in the land of the first light! ☀️#tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #firstlight
#gisborne #sunrise
Our main guide Monty sharing a little insight into what a tour up Maunga Hikurangi could look like for you.  As he mentions, this place is sacred to him and his family. Monty has many historical and cultural stories to share with you. Repost thanks to 🎥 @purenewzealand and our friends at @tairawhitigisbornenz
#maunga #maungahikurangi #eastcoast #tairawhiti #tairawhitigisborne #gisborne#northisland #newzealand #nz #nzmustdo#nztourism
The second to last carving! This one is named Mātāwaka and 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.#nagtiporou #destinationsnz #mustdonz #nzmustdo #newzealand #newzealandvacations #gisbornenz #sunriseoftheday #beautifulnature #newzealandvacations #tairawhiti #firstlightnz #tairawhitigisbornenz
Te Hiku-o-te-Ika: Is “the barb of the stingray” and refers to the tail-end of the fish, 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.
Also featured here, a magnificent view from the maunga!
Irawhaaki was Māui’s father who played a key part in Māui's extraordinary feats. This intriguing story and others are told by our guides up the maunga as part of our experiences!#nagtiporou #destinationsnz #mustdonz #nzmustdo #newzealand #newzealandvacations  #gisbornenz #sunriseoftheday #beautifulnature #newzealandvacations #tairawhiti #firstlightnz #tairawhitigisbornenz
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