Mount Hikurangi - Te Ara ki Hikurangi


Views from Mt Hikurangi.
Views from Mt Hikurangi

Mt Hikurangi, on the east coast of the North Island, is recognised and accepted as the first point on the mainland to greet the morning sun. This highest peak (1752 metres) in the rugged Raukumara Range is revered by the Ngati Porou tribe as its sacred mountain. For them Mt Hikurangi is more importantly the resting place of Nukutaimemeha, the waka (canoe) of Maui, who is said to have fished up the North Island of New Zealand.

To Ngati Porou, Mt Hikurangi was and is an integral part of their traditions and history. The association of the people and the mountain is recorded in waiata (song), haka (war dance), whakatauaki (tribal proverbs) and karakia (incantations). 


Alpine vegetation

The summit of Mt Hikurangi comprises the northern-most extent of alpine vegetation in New Zealand. The alpine plants include large buttercups (Ranunculus spp.), prickly wild spaniards (Aciphylla spp.) and other alpine shrubs and delicate herbs.

Of particular interest is the small subalpine "Hikurangi tutu" (Coriaria pottsiana) which is only known from the grassy scree slope behind the tramping hut. Please treat all plants on Mt Hikurangi with care.


Mt Hikurangi is on the Raukumara Range, about 130 kilometres due north of Gisborne.

Getting there

If you are planning to visit, please make contact with Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou before you do so. They offer 4WD Tours to the Maui Whakairo, as well as a summit guide and an overnight guide.

Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou
1 Barrys Avenue
Ruatoria 4032

Ph: +64 6 864 9004 or email:

The start of Te Ara ki Hikurangi track is located on Pahikiroa Station, which is at the end of the gravel Tapuaeroa Valley Road, 20 kilometres inland from Ruatoria. The turnoff is on a bend (north of Ruatoria) and is signposted as "Pakihiroa Station". There is public access from the Tapuaeroa Valley to the mountain, via Pakihiroa Station which is owned and operated by Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou.

There is a formal carpark just below the Pakihiroa station manager's house. There is no public vehicle access past this point.

Places to stay

Mt Hikurangi hut

There is a hut available for public use on the track, administered by Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou. Bookings should be made through them.

You must carry your own cooker and water. Camping is not permitted.

Plan and prepare


Te Ara ki Hikurangi may be closed for short periods during the year for farming or cultural reasons. All closures will be publicly notified. Further information can be obtained from Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou.

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Find out more


Follow the Outdoor Safety Code:
1. Plan your trip
2. Tell someone
3. Be aware of the weather
4. Know your limits
5. Take sufficient supplies

Alerts for East Coast places


Turanganui-a-Kiwa / Gisborne Office
Phone:      +64 6 869 0460
Full office details