• 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

Plan your trip to Maunga Hikurangi to make it an unforgettable experience! It will be a once in the lifetime opportunity to immerse yourself with the people, history and surroundings that make this place so special. 🌟

We have plenty of resources on our website including where to stay and how to get here. We hope to welcome you soon. 

📷: @the_wanderer_photographer 

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