First Light Marathon

20 Jan 2024

Maunga Hikurangi

A place of great spiritual and cultural significance to the Ngāti Porou people, Maunga Hikurangi combines breathtaking natural views with a fascinating history. Learn about the legends and gaze in wonder from the first spot on the North Island to greet the sun.
21 Jan | 8 hours | 420 NZD

The tour to Maunga Hikurangi begins with a 2-hour drive north of Gisborne City to Ruatoria, where we'll transfer to a 4WD veheicle for the journey to and from Maunga Hikurangi.

Standing at 1754m high, Maunga Hikurangi is the highest non-volcanic mountain on the North Island. Māori legend tells that the demigod Maui fished up the North Island out of the sea, and Maunga Hikurangi was the first point to emerge from the sea. It is recognized as the first point on Aotearoa New Zealand to be touched by the morning sun, and the mountain is scared to the local Ngāti Porou people. 

Rougly two-thirds of the way up the mountain, there are 9 larger-than-life carvings that represent Maui and his whānau (extended family). The pillars – called pou – depict the stories and legends of Maui as the founding ancestor of the Ngati Porou people, which the local guide will help bring to life before your eyes. The tour lasts approximately four hours, and includes lunch on the mountain, as well as a native seedling to plant as part of an eco-project, and participation in a karakia, a traditional Māori blessing. 

After the tour on the mountain, we'll return to Ruatoria, where participants will be transferred back to their hotels. 

  • About the Tour

    Duration: 8 hours 


    - Transportation to/from Ruatoria 
    - 4WD adventure to/from Maunga Hikurangi 
    - In-depth cultural tour with an expert Ngāti Porou guide 
    - Native seedling to plant as part of an eco-project
    - Participation in a karakia (traditional Māori blessing) 
    - Lunch atop Maunga Hikurangi