Tongariro te Maunga

Tongariro the Warrior Mountain, shrouded in alpine mists, his gnarled and battle-scarred majesty reaching to the sky. Tongariro the devoted lover, the source of live-giving waters, the soul of Tūwharetoa. Tongariro embodies the history and identity of the Ngāti Hikairo ki Tongariro as guardians and protectors of this mountainous region. 

Ancient stories of epic bygone battles, thunder and lightning relive the time when the Great Mountains fought for the hand of the beautiful maiden Pihanga. Tongariro emerged victorious. A story of epic love and devotion spanning millennia, from before the ancient mists of time, from a time where the mountains ruled upon the land.

This is the world of Ngāti Hikairo ki Tongariro.  These are the stories of Ngāti Tūwharetoa and, more importantly, these are the memories of our mountains, of our Gods and of our tribal history and identity. They are carried on each mountain breath, every facet of the landscape reflects this epic past, each shadow holds a story, each breeze carries the whispers of yesterday. Tongariro the devoted lover, Tongariro the source of life-giving waters, Tongariro the Warrior Mountain, Tongariro the soul of Tūwharetoa.

It is a world of reciprocity and respect, of guardianship and devotion, of stunning landscapes and epic stories of deep reverence and spirituality. 

May the guardians of our mountains keep you safe, may the memory of this experience lie warm indoor hearts forever.


Naming Tongariro


The Ngāti Tūwharetoa people are descendants of the powerful tohunga, Ngatoro-i-rangi, who navigated to Aotearoa (New Zealand) in the great waka ‘Te Arawa”.  After the long journey from Hawaiki, Ngatoro-i-rangi and his followers made landfall at Maketu, on the east cape of the North Island. They then made their way inland to claim new lands and subsequently arrived in what is now the Taupo district.

Struggling with fatigue and cold, Ngatoro-i-rangi climbed to the top of Tongariro. Weakened with the climbing and cold and near death, he called to his sisters in distant Hawaiki, ‘I am seized by the cold wind to the south, send me fire!’ The name Tongariro comes from ‘tonga’ (south wind) and ‘riro’ (seized).


Calling for three baskets of fire, only one arrived. After warming himself he threw the remains into the side of the mountain. This area is now called Ketetahi (one basket). The hot springs there were traditionally used for healing and the area has special significance to local Maori today.