A new dawn for tourism in Ngāti Porou

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

The sons of famous Nepalese mountaineer Tenzing Norgay have witnessed their first sunrise on Mt. Hikurangi, providing an opportunity for Ngāti Porou to further develop their own mountain tourism venture.

Sacred to the people of Ngati Porou, Hikurangi is the first peak in the world to see the dawn of a new day.

Maunga Hikurangi Tours guide Ngarimu Parata of Ngāti Porou says, "To bring us back, that's the main focus of our tourism operations.  What I want is to bring us back into our culture."

Norbu Tenzing says, “I'm very honoured to be here this morning on Mt Hikurangi and to see the relationship Māori have with their ancestors just as we have ours.”

The tribe are looking to further develop their Maunga Hikurangi tourism venture in a sustainable way.

“How to guide people in a way that they're cared for, as well the environment and our guests who come to Hikurangi,” says Ngarimu Parata.

Tenzing says, “This is where your culture is and this is where your ancestors are.  If you don't manage it somebody else will take over and if that happens, as it has happened in some parts of Nepal, it can become irreversible.”

Flags have been gifted by the Tenzing family which hold traditional Tibetan prayers. You'll see them on Mt. Everest, and now they're being moved by the winds that grace Hikurangi.

The exchange represents a cultural transaction of tradition and knowledge.

Tenzing says, “The word in Tibetan or Sherpa is 'Lungta'. ‘Lung’ means wind and ‘ta’ means horse, and so we typically have these flags flying, fluttering over mountain passes all over the Himalayas so that our prayers ascend to the gods in the wind.

"By leading with these narratives we can teach our children and grandchildren the legacy of the mountain and history of this homeland,” says Parata.

The family now head to Te Waipounamu where they will be hosted by Kai Tahu and visit Mt. Aoraki before travelling to Ruapehu in Ngāti Tūwharetoa territory and finishing with a sunset on Taranaki with Taranaki iwi.