Breathtaking views over Hawkes Bay high country from Te Mata Peak, Hawkes Bay. © natmint Creative #: 508388464

Te Mata Peak: Hawke's Bay icon


View the map

TAP FOR MORE INFO:

The story about how Te Mata Peak in Hawke’s Bay came to be and how it came to resemble the recumbent figure of a man so closely, is nearly as picturesque as the little town of Havelock North beneath it.

According to the legend, the local people of Heretaunga, fed up with being harassed by their neighbours, the people of the Waimarama region, held a council to decide what to do about it. Suffering from a military disadvantage, fighting was hardly an option. So it was clear an alternative means must be found. The solution was proposed by an old kuia, who pointed to one of the tribe’s more notable assets: the supreme beauty of the chief’s daughter, Hinerakau.

‘He ai na te wahine, ka horahia to po,’ the old woman said: ‘Womanly wiles will overcome the forces of darkness’.

Hinerakau obligingly placed herself at a point where the leader of Waimarama raiders, a giant by the name of Te Mata o Rongokako, would see her, and he duly came, saw, and was conquered. Hinerakau then did as women do when they have a man completely in their power: she gave him some chores. Her affection, she admonished, would be indexed to his performance.

Te Mata took to his work with a will, easily accomplishing everything she set him to do. Until, that is, she invited him to chomp his way through the pesky range of hills that made access to the sea so tiresome for the people of the region.

Te Mata gave it a good crack – the deep gouge in the range known as The Gap is the bite he took out of it – but some part of his mouthful stuck in his craw, and he subsequently choked and died. He lies there still.

As for Hinerakau, she was so remorseful that she threw herself off a nearby cliff into the sea.

It’s a mournful story, and one to contemplate as you enjoy the panoramic view from the 399-metre summit of Te Mata himself. On a clear day, you can see the whole of Hawke’s Bay laid out before you up to Mahia Peninsula in the north, and the rugged hills ranged behind the coast to the south. Inland, you’ll see the snow cap of Ruapehu glimmering, and at Te Mata’s foot, you’ll see the bounty of the fertile Hawke’s Bay farms, orchards and vineyards grazing and growing before your eyes.

Explore more...


Be the first to comment on this page. You cannot post comments until you have logged in. Please log in or register if you don't have an account.

More stories like this

Find out more

Out and about

Hawke’s Bay: in search of the good life

Writer Tracey Wogan and her family are stoked to have escaped the urban rat race and currently revel in Hawke’s Bay, a place that isn’t on the way to anywhere and requires deliberate choice to discover its delights.  Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Things to do

Classic New Zealand Wine Trail: Napier to Blenheim

What better way to taste your way across islands and through three of New Zealand's major wine-producing regions than on the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail . . . Read the story . . . 

Hawke's Bay Region Where to stay in

4.3 /5
From $135
Village Motel Visit website

Village Motel is conveniently located in the centre of Havelock North (only 40meters from Havelock Village). Dubbed the heart of Hawke's Bay Wine Country, top . . . More . . . 

From $135

Book now

Book now

4.6 /5
From $185
Havelock House

3 spacious ground floor bedrooms Perfectly located for Havelock North ,short breaks to see friends,wedding stays - Black Barn, Craggy Range, golf at Cape Kidnappers, . . . More . . . 

From $185

Book now

Book now

4.1 /5
From $135
4.1 /5
Best Price Around
Anchorage Motor Lodge Visit website

Enjoy Napier accommodation with beautiful sea and mountain views. We have lift access to 44 well-appointed studio, 1 and 2-bedroom suites, most with large corner spas. . . . More . . . 

From $135

Book now

Book now

4.3 /5
From $110
4.3 /5
Best Price Around
BK's Fountain Court Motor Inn Visit website

Welcome to BK's Fountain Court Motor Inn. Luxury accommodation in the centre of Napier City. Superior and executive studio rooms, 1 and 2-bedroom suites and . . . More . . . 

From $110

Book now

Book now