• 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

FOLLOW US

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 read more. ☀

📷: @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
A great shot of the first glimpse of sunlight from up here on Maunga Hikurangi! @lisaexplorerku started her hike up the maunga at 3:45am to make the most of her trip! 😲 It looks like it was well worth it to get this picture of the sun casting its golden rays 🌞✨

 📷: @lisaexplorerku 

#nzwinter #tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #mthikurangi #firstlight #gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa
Matariki, the Māori New Year, te Tau Hou Māori, was on June 24th. This is best the time to celebrate the past year with family and friends, and to look forward to the future. How did you celebrate over the weekend?

Maunga Hikurangi is the first place in the world to see the start of the new year. ✨🙌

📷: @matarikifestivalakl 

#nzwinter #tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #mthikurangi #firstlight #gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa #matariki
We are getting into the peak of winter now! But misty Maunga Hikurangi will still provide a spectacular sunrise on those clear mornings. If you’re planning to view the first light from the top of our maunga, be sure to wear lots of layers, appropriate footwear and a headtorch. The brisk air will surely wake you up ⛰🌞🧤

Check out our latest blog on our website to see what else you might want to bring.

📷: @mattcrawfordphoto 

#nzwinter #tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #mthikurangi #firstlight #gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa
The winter school holidays are quickly approaching. Looking for something a little bit different to do with the kids? Bundle up and try a day trip with us to the top of Maunga Hikurangi. Less of a commitment for the kids in your group than our sunrise tour, the Haramai Day Tour Experience takes about 4 hours, includes a light lunch featuring local produce and an exhilarating 4WD adventure! 🏔😎

#maungahikurangi #haramaidaytour #tairawhitigisborne #firstlight #gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa
We pride ourselves on being the first to see the sun’s light each day. But our region is home to a number of famous lookouts to watch the sun rise and set from, like the iconic East Cape lighthouse. 

About 20kms from Te Araroa, enjoy a scenic drive there followed by a 20 minute walk up to the lighthouse itself. It might not be as tall as Maunga Hikurangi, but it’s a slice of history and makes for a great Instagram shot while you’re here! ♥

📷: @tairawhitigisbornenz 

#beachraces #carpediem #adventure ##tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #firstlight #gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa
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