Story: Ngā waewae tapu – Māori exploration

Geothermal areas

Ngātoroirangi was a tohunga who arrived in New Zealand on the Te Arawa canoe. He explored inland and arrived at Mt Tongariro. Because of the intense cold he called for help from his sisters, exclaiming that he was seized (riro) by the extreme cold (tonga) – hence the mountain’s name. His sisters sent him fire, which burst out at a number of places now recognised as geothermal areas.

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How to cite this page:

Rāwiri Taonui, 'Ngā waewae tapu – Māori exploration - Te Arawa explorers', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 28 May 2023)

Story by Rāwiri Taonui, published 24 Sep 2007