Explore Te Tau Ihu

Our rohe has many beautiful places all with a story to tell. A great way to connect with the whenua, understand more about our history and learn some kōrero from our tūpuna, is to go out and visit these special places in our home. So, this Whakatū Anniversary (29th January) – why not take your whānau out and explore the lands of Te Tau Ihu. Here are some places we think you should check out.

Abel Tasman National Park
Not only is the Abel Tasman National Park an area of stunning natural beauty, with golden beaches, islands and estuaries, it is also a place that holds historic significance. Head over for a day trip to learn more about our whenua with the series of interpretation boards, walk along a short section of the track, or jump in the water and kayak through Awaroa Bay.

Māori have had a long association with the Abel Tasman National Park – with Ngaitara as the first known iwi to live in the area, followed by Ngāti Tumatakokiri. Ngāti Rārua and Te Ᾱtiawa acknowledge the ancient people of Waitaha, as tribal traditions say they came to the area from the ancient homeland, Hawaiki.

While visiting the park, you can visit the first two poupou of the planned eight, that were installed last year. The pou of Turangāpeke has been placed at Anchorage, and the pou of Hōhaia Rangiāuru can be seen at Medlands.

These pou have been installed as part of the project that was more than a decade in the making, to ensure our legacy and our kōrero are not lost, and people from all over the world can learn about the tangata whenua, while also experiencing the natural beauty of the rohe.

Te Waikoropupū Springs
Just a short drive over the hill into Tākaka, you can visit the wai ora Te Waikoropupū Springs. This is a culturally significant site to Manawhenua ki Mōhua (Ngāti Tama, Ngāti Rārua and Te Ātiawa). They are the largest cold water springs in the Southern Hemisphere.

Kahurangi National Park

Kahurangi National Park is where you will find our two sacred maunga of mana whenua ki Motueka, Pukeone and Tū Ao Wharepapa.
Our maunga Pukeone and Tū Ao Wharepapa replenish us when the rain falls, produce plants that kept us dry, send messages of great importance, and for some provide a historical and spiritual link to the natural world.

Pukeone (Mount Campbell), is the smaller of our two maunga and was used by our tūpuna to light signal fires to communicate important news or events across large distances. It’s still used today as a communication point, as the radio tower sits on the summit.

Tū Ao Wharepapa (Mount Arthur) is the highest peak of the Wharepapa Range (Arthur Range) – where it guards the tablelands below.

Riuwaka Resurgence

A special place to visit is the Riuwaka Resurgence. Te Puna o Riuwaka (the Riuwaka Resurgence) is wahi tapu for our people, a sacred, supernatural place where our tūpuna would come to cleanse and heal their bodies and sustain their spirits. Many of our tūpuna lived beside the Riuwaka River, including a revered tōhunga (expert/priest), named Tamati Parana, who made his tūāhu (sacred place) near the healing white stones of these waters.

For a short walk to the healing waters of Riuwaka, take SH60 from Riuwaka up the Tākaka Hill and at 5km take the left fork in the road, signposted to the Resurgence. Drive another 7km alongside the river and you’ll come to a carpark and picnic area and find our beautiful waharoa at the start of the short (7 minute) walk to Te Puna o Riuwaka.

Walk to ‘The Centre of New Zealand’

For something a little more local, why not head into Nelson and visit ‘The Centre of New Zealand’ monument.

The top of Botanical Hill was used as a central survey point, by John Spence Browning, the chief surveyor for Nelson in the 1870’s, for doing the first geodetic survey of New Zealand when earlier isolated surveys were combined. However, a survey in 1962 determined the centre of New Zealand was in fact a point in the Spooners Range in the Golden Downs Forest.

While not exactly ‘The Centre of New Zealand’, this short climb uphill gives you stunning views of Nelson City, the Tasman Mountains and Tasman Bay.

Start at the Botanical Reserve in Hardy St, Nelson, and follow along the uphill track. It takes about 15 minutes to reach the top.

We hope you enjoy your long weekend, taking some time off in the sun and spending time with whānau. If you visit any of these places this weekend, please send us your photos on our Facebook page. Or if you have any other special places in Te Tau Ihu to visit, please share that with us too!