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Virtually no one has stepped on this island in the past 150 years. Salt Air and the Motukokako Ahu whenua Trust have partnered to now offer an incredible adventure that combines a thrilling Bay of Islands helicopter scenic flight, exciting landing on the top of Hole in the Rock and the sharing of Maori stories of young warriors who ventured to the island in pre-european days. A rare opportunity to reward visitors with a thrilling and utterly unique New Zealand experience.
For many years visitors have come to the Bay of Islands to venture through this top New Zealand icon the Hole in the Rock on boats, we have flown them over it thousands of times, and it has been admired by many for its unique appearance and history.
Now it can be experienced up close and on foot, landing by helicopter on our newly built helipad on top of the island. Visitors have the option to land on the island with a brief stop on the viewing platform or be hosted on the island by a local Maori Guide, who will share the islands’ unique history and its cultural and ecological significance.
Very few people in history, including Maori, have ever ventured on the island in this way before. Being surrounded by steep cliffs (over 150 metres high) and stunning scenery looking towards Cape Brett and its surrounds, this unique landing location will no doubt appeal to the adventurous.
The Significance for Maori of Motukōkako
“ Motukōkako” is the Maori name for the motu / island, the origin of which is said to have eventuated in ancient times and literally translated means Kokako Island. The Kokako is a bird that once inhabited the motu, whose feathers were valued by Ngapuhi.
Historically, young male warriors would journey to Cape Brett, then swim across treacherous currents to Motukōkako when they would then climb its steep cliffs to the top of the island. If they made it that far they would then gather Kokako feathers for their Korowai (feathered cloak). If they achieved this incredible feat then they would return to their tribe a man as a rite of passage.
When standing atop Motukokako visitors can imagine the enormity of this astounding cultural tradition and appreciate the scale of the acheivement. The ability to now also journey to the top of the island, albeit by helicopter, is therefore a considerable privilege which is valued by those that have visited there so far.
This tour left me with a feeling of privilege, emotion and awe…without a doubt one of the best things I have ever done.
It was a profoundly moving experience that I will never forget. I was teary for hours afterwards…