• 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

Today is the big day for Maunga to Moana competitors! Good luck to each and every one of you. We welcome you warmly to the top of our sacred maunga in Stage 1 of the race!
🏃‍♀️⛰🚵‍♀️📷: @m2m_adventure#m2m2021 ##tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #firstlight #ruatoria #gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa
Road tripping the East Cape? Stop over on State Highway 35 for an awe-inspiring experience off the beaten track that you’ll never forget: Maunga Hikurangi#maungahikurangi #tairawhitigisborne #firstlight
#gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa
East Coast magic! Just a wee throwback to the annual December Kaiaua beach races at Tolaga Bay an hour south from the Maunga – here out East we live life to the fullest!📷: Tairawhiti Gisborne
#beachraces #carpediem #adventure ##tairawhitigisborne #maungahikurangi #firstlight #gisborne #sunrise #aotearoa
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
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