Aoraki (Mt Cook) is the highest peak in the Southern Alps, the central mountain range of the South Island. In the past many believed that the Māori name for Mt Cook, Aorangi (which in the Ngāi Tahu dialect is Aoraki), meant 'the cloud-piercer'. But Aorangi was a person. According to tradition, when the canoe in which he and his brothers were voyaging in the south-west Pacific was wrecked, he scrambled to the highest point of the canoe's upturned hull. One early name for the South Island is Te Waka o Aoraki (Aoraki's canoe).
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Photograph by Lloyd Homer
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