New Zealand’s Most Famous Mountain.

Hey everyone,

Today I’m introducing you to Mauao. Mauao is in fact New Zealand’s most famous mountain, and it sits right at the end of a peninsula and the town of Mount Maunganui. Here’s a picture for your viewing pleasure.

Mount Maunganui & Tauranga Harbour - aerial

 Gorgeous, isn’t it?

Lucky for me, I live a mere twenty minutes from this stunning location on the East Coast of the North Island of New Zealand. Which is the reason why I’m bringing you Mauao today.

Mauao is more commonly known as “The Mount” and sits around 761 feet above sea level. You can walk around the perimeter base track within forty minutes, or along any of the three separate tracks leading upward to the summit. You can hang-glide from the top or simply take a picnic and enjoy the wicked views.

Thankfully it’s an extinct volcano *wipes brow* and is considered very important or sacred by the local Māori iwi, featuring extensively in local mythology.

I find the mythology surrounding this mountain intriguing. You can literally translate Mauao to meaning “caught by the dawn.”

Today, I’m going to share with you the legend of Mauao, which is actually, and strangely, a romantic story. Just look between the lines and you’ll see the love lost, then the love regained.

So, here we go. The Legend of Mauao. I hope you enjoy.

In the ancient times of the Māori people there lived a nameless hill. He, the nameless one, sat alone in a discarded inland area and was slave to Otanewainuku, a most prestigious mountain in the nearby area of Tauranga. The nameless one desired the affection of Puwhenua and she was a nearby mountain of the forest and adorned with great beauty. But alas, her heart had already been won by Otanewainuku and the nameless one was distraught, deciding to take his own life by drowning in the sea known as the Pacific Ocean.

So, the nameless one called upon his companions, the fairy people who dwelt in the dark recesses of the forest. He knew they would help him in his ambition to end his life. When night fell, the fairy people laced the nameless one with dozens of ropes and heaved him from his inland area, gouging a valley as they tugged him toward the sea. Only upon their arrival at dawn, the sun’s rays lit up the summit of the nameless one and the fairy people had to retreat back to the depths of the forest or be seen, their actions fixing the nameless one to his place at the edge of the ocean. Thus Mauao’s name was born–he was “caught by the dawn.”

Now, how is this a love story? Well, Mauao now has the love of all New Zealand’s people, his standing far greater than his rival Otanewainuku’s could ever be as he sits so prestigiously at the end of a peninsula.

Gotta love that. I certainly hoped you enjoyed this little taste of New Zealand. Also, don’t forget, if you want to drop me a comment, make sure you do. I love, love hearing from you guys. :)

Have a wonderful week everyone.


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4 thoughts on “New Zealand’s Most Famous Mountain.

  1. Hi, Joanne. What a great story! You probably already know I love fishing around in folklore and myth. This was such a delightful treat. Many thanks for sharing, and that photo is fab!

    1. I was born in NZ, and my ancestors arrived here via ship from England in the 1850s. I have no Maori blood, but the Maori/Polynesian culture is very strong in NZ. NZ was one of the last countries in the world to be discovered around the mid 1700s, although the first settlers didn’t arrive here from England until the 1850s. At that time the Maori people had tribes throughout the country.

      The Polynesian people, in case you’re interested, are those people of Polynesian descent who settled in the seven countries/Islands of the Pacific Ocean. You’ll know those islands as: Samoa, Fiji, Cook Islands, Rarotonga, Vanuatu, New Zealand, and lastly Hawaii.

      Many Polynesian people have relatives spread across those islands, and New Zealand is the hub for them all (except Hawaii which is a state of USA.) More Samoans, Fijians, Vanuatuans, Rarotongans and Cook Islanders live in NZ, than do in their own countries.

      So as you can see, NZ is actually a real melting pot of nationalities, but with the cruisy island way of living. There is a very relaxed relationship between us all, and that’s because we’re so far removed from the rest of the world, way down here at the bottom of the world.

      I hope you found that interesting. I clearly love my country and the people within it. 🙂

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