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Where New Zealand began

Northland is a timeless place of new beginnings. It was here that the Maori explorer Kupe arrived on his wooden waka (sea-going canoe) to discover New Zealand, then later returned to with a band of Maori settlers aboard the legendary Ngatokimatawhaorua.

Paddling a waka requires determination, cooperation and strength of vision. Each time Kupe - and those who followed - made landfall at Hokianga Harbour, it was the culmination of a long and intrepid voyage with only the stars to guide them and their own muscles to power the journey.


Northland & Bay of Islands
Taiamai Tours Heritage Journeys, Northland & Bay of Islands

By Sara Orme

The long journey made by our early explorers would have required great strength and determination

When those brave travellers arrived at the end of their long voyage, they set foot on a Northland that was very different from the one we can visit today. But, as always, this land of great bounty and promise was a home to be cherished and protected.

A replica of the mighty waka Ngatokimatawhaorua sits near the place where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between a collection of Maori chiefs and the English Crown in 1840. Ngatokimatawhaorua is a symbol both of the bravery and desire of those who first came here, and the modern-day voyage of two peoples who now travel together in cooperation and mutual respect.

This place is home, always has been. This is an ancient home that was gifted to my ancestors. If you were to climb to the top of the highest hill, and cast your eyes out for as far as you can see, that is the ancient house of my people.

Hone Mihaka Owner, Taiamai Heritage Journeys Click for more info

Next on your journey

Taiamai Tours Heritage Journeys →

Maori culture in Northland →

Treaty of Waitangi →

Kauri Coast & Hokianga →