Te Wāhipounamu - South West New Zealand World Heritage Area
The South West of New Zealand is one the great natural areas of the world. It is internationally recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Known to the original Māori inhabitants as Te Wāi Pounamu – the greenstone waters, the 2.6 million hectare site encompasses Westland Tai Poutini, Aoraki/Mount Cook, Mount Aspiring Tititea and Fiordland National Parks and covers almost 10% of New Zealand’s total land area.
What makes the South West of New Zealand a World Heritage Area?
Darran Mountains, Fiordland National Park
What makes the South West of New Zealand a special place for Ngāi Tahu?
To Ngāi Tahu the great mountains and valleys of Te Wāhipounamu are the places of Atua (gods). The whakapapa (genealogies) of ancestors, who stand on the landscape, and the recognition of the deeds of those ancestors, are important cultural identifiers to these places.