The remote nature of Te Urewera has for centuries cloaked and sheltered the Tuhoe, the local Maori people. Tuhoe spiritual and cultural traditions are closely linked with the forested hills of the park.
In pre-European times, life was determined by the practical demands of an annual cycle of food gathering. Te Urewera nurtured an industrious and resilient people with links to the land. No part of the forest was left unexplored.
The Waikaremoana catchment is dotted with areas of private land, some held sacred by the Tuhoe people. Where the walk crosses private land, you are welcome to pass through, but please stay on the marked track.
Hine-pukohu-rangi came from the sky luring Te Maunga, the mountain, to earth with her. Their child was a mortal being, Tuhoepotiki; his descendants are the Tuhoe people. Tuhoe are thus children of the supernatural, born of the remote mountain and the drifting mist.
The symbol you see on signs, shelters and other facilities along the lake track is an interpretation of Hine-pukohu-rangi.