Story: Kīngitanga – the Māori King movement

Sacred mountains

At the historic 1856 hui at Pūkawa, Lake Taupō, at which Pōtatau Te Wherowhero was selected as Māori king, the many chiefs present conducted a ceremony to transfer to him their mana (authority). They gathered around a tall flagstaff with long plaited ropes dangling from it. Iwikau Te Heuheu, the paramount chief of Ngāti Tūwharetoa, and the host on this occasion, explained that the flagstaff represented his sacred mountain, Tongariro, and each rope represented a mountain sacred to the other tribes present. 

Click on this map to see images of many of the maunga (mountains) sacred to individual Māori tribes.

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How to cite this page:

Rahui Papa and Paul Meredith, 'Kīngitanga – the Māori King movement - Pōtatau Te Wherowhero, 1858–1860', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 8 December 2022)

Story by Rahui Papa and Paul Meredith, published 20 Jun 2012