Story: Kotahitanga – unity movements

Sacred mountains around New Zealand

The Kīngitanga movement aimed to unite Māori tribes into a council that could negotiate with settler-dominated governments. At its founding ceremony at Pūkawa, on the west side of Lake Taupō, in 1857, Kīngitanga leader Te Heuheu Iwikau erected a flagpole with ropes of plaited flax attached to the top. He explained that the pole represented Tongariro, the sacred mountain of his own tribe, Ngāti Tūwharetoa. Each rope represented the sacred mountain of another tribe. As these mountains were named, the leading chief of each tribe took a rope and staked it into the ground to symbolise their support for the Kīngitanga. This map shows the main sacred maunga (mountains) around New Zealand.

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How to cite this page:

Basil Keane, 'Kotahitanga – unity movements - Kotahitanga movements around the 1860s', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 20 June 2024)

Story by Basil Keane, published 20 Jun 2012