Steeped in Maori tradition, Ruatoria is an interesting stop for visitors to Eastland. The town is home territory for the Ngati Porou tribe; it’s also the spiritual base for Maori Rastafarians (Ngati Dread), who combine their Rasta teaching with tribal philosophies. The town sits below Mount Hikurangi (1752 metres), the first point on the New Zealand mainland to see the sunrise each day. An agreement between the government and Ngati Porou has secured public access to the mountain. A walkway up the mountain begins at Tapuaeroa Valley Road. There is a hikers’ hut on the mountain, which allows climbers to stay the night and be ready for the sunrise. Functional facts: Approx. population 750, basic shops, limited accommodation.