DoC walks the walk on Mt Hikurangi

GREAT OUTDOORS: Department of Conservation director-general Lou Sanson (left) with East Coast operations manager John Lucas outside the hut on Mount Hikurangi. Pictures by Jamie Quirk
WALKING THE WALK: Department of Conservation (DOC) director-general Lou Sanson climbed Mount Hikurangi this week following up on a personal invitation to honour the late Apirana Mahuika (Ngati Porou).

DEPARTMENT of Conservation director-general Lou Sanson became one of the first to see the sun on the sacred Mount Hikurangi this week.

Mr Sanson said he had talked about doing it for a long time and it was a very special visit for him, following up on a personal invitation to honour the late Apirana Mahuika (Ngati Porou).

“The mountain on a good day has a phenomenal view of White Island in the Bay of Plenty,” Mr Sanson said.

“The weather conditions were not as clear on this occasion, but this did not detract from the experience with views south to Whakapunake, Whangaokeno (East Island) and most of the Raukumara Forest Park.”

Mount Hikurangi is the highest peak (1752 metres) in the Raukumara Range and is recognised as the first point on the mainland to greet the morning sun.

It is the highest non-volcanic mountain in the North Island.

Mount Hikurangi was and is an integral part of Ngati Porou traditions and history.

It is the resting place of Maui-Tikitiki-a-Taranga, the famous Maori and Polynesian demi-god, who lifted Hikurangi out of the ocean when he fished up Te Ika-a-Maui, the North Island.

According to Ngati Porou, Maui’s waka Nukutaimemeha lies in Takawhiti, the beautiful lake near the summit.

The association of people and the mountain is recorded in Ngati Porou waiata, haka, whakatauaki (tribal proverbs) and karakia (incantations).

Nine huge whakairo (carvings) that represent Maui and his descendants are on the northern point of the mountain. These pou are a tribute to Maui and the proud cultural heritage of Ngati Porou.

“A personal highlight was to look down this morning and see these pou in amongst mist and the mountain covered in mist,” said Mr Sanson.

“The pou are some of the best I have ever seen in New Zealand. One regret is that not all New Zealanders could get to see it and the power of the pou under the Ngati Porou maunga.”

Mr Sanson said he was also fascinated by the vegetation so far East in New Zealand, and to see alpine plants like large buttercups (Ranunculus spp) and Hikurangi tutu (Coriaria pottsiana) that are only present there and in Tairawhiti.

The summit comprises the northern-most extent of alpine vegetation in New Zealand.

DEPARTMENT of Conservation director-general Lou Sanson became one of the first to see the sun on the sacred Mount Hikurangi this week.

Mr Sanson said he had talked about doing it for a long time and it was a very special visit for him, following up on a personal invitation to honour the late Apirana Mahuika (Ngati Porou).

“The mountain on a good day has a phenomenal view of White Island in the Bay of Plenty,” Mr Sanson said.

“The weather conditions were not as clear on this occasion, but this did not detract from the experience with views south to Whakapunake, Whangaokeno (East Island) and most of the Raukumara Forest Park.”

Mount Hikurangi is the highest peak (1752 metres) in the Raukumara Range and is recognised as the first point on the mainland to greet the morning sun.

It is the highest non-volcanic mountain in the North Island.

Mount Hikurangi was and is an integral part of Ngati Porou traditions and history.

It is the resting place of Maui-Tikitiki-a-Taranga, the famous Maori and Polynesian demi-god, who lifted Hikurangi out of the ocean when he fished up Te Ika-a-Maui, the North Island.

According to Ngati Porou, Maui’s waka Nukutaimemeha lies in Takawhiti, the beautiful lake near the summit.

The association of people and the mountain is recorded in Ngati Porou waiata, haka, whakatauaki (tribal proverbs) and karakia (incantations).

Nine huge whakairo (carvings) that represent Maui and his descendants are on the northern point of the mountain. These pou are a tribute to Maui and the proud cultural heritage of Ngati Porou.

“A personal highlight was to look down this morning and see these pou in amongst mist and the mountain covered in mist,” said Mr Sanson.

“The pou are some of the best I have ever seen in New Zealand. One regret is that not all New Zealanders could get to see it and the power of the pou under the Ngati Porou maunga.”

Mr Sanson said he was also fascinated by the vegetation so far East in New Zealand, and to see alpine plants like large buttercups (Ranunculus spp) and Hikurangi tutu (Coriaria pottsiana) that are only present there and in Tairawhiti.

The summit comprises the northern-most extent of alpine vegetation in New Zealand.

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