• 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

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
We are welcoming in the New Year and the first rays of Tama-Nui-Te-Rā! We hope 2021 brings you aroha, joy, happiness and new beginnings – from up here on Maunga Hikurangi.#tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #firstlight
#gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa
Maori carving is packed with symbolism - and styles differ between the tribes. Ngati Porou’s unique ancestry comes through strong atop Maunga Hikurangi!#tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #firstlight #ruatoria
#gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa
Check out this epic shot by @nobletraveller, of the full sun upon Maunga Hikurangi!#tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #firstlight #ruatoria
#gisborne #sun #aotearoa
Meri Kirihimete to all! We hope you enjoy your day with whānau and/or friends wherever you are 🎄#tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #firstlight
#gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa
The beauty lies in the details. Our guides bring to life the stories held by each whakairo (carving) – down to each fabulous, minute element.#tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #firstlight #ruatoria
#gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa
Journey with us to the first light at Maunga Hikurangi!#tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #firstlight
#gisborne #sunrise #maui #guardians #maoriculture
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