Manea Footprints of Kupe is a unique multi-sensory journey into Māori history and traditions, designed to help you see, hear and even feel the great explorer Kupe’s story come to life.
The stunning coastal region of Hokianga, and its twin settlements of Ōmāpere and Opononi, are a gateway to the far north of Aotearoa New Zealand – the first of dozens of charming beach towns and hidden gems along the west coast.
Whether it’s your first time to the area or a favourite destination, the sight of Hokianga’s rolling, golden sand dunes rising from the horizon, surrounded by a shimmering blue harbour, is breathtaking every time.
Unsurprisingly, this spectacular view has been mesmerising travellers for hundreds of years.
The first footprints
The most famous of them all, the legendary explorer Kupe, first crossed the harbour into Hokianga 1,000 years ago. Manea Footprints of Kupe is named for the footprints left in the soft clay by Kupe and his faithful dog, which turned into stone over many years and can still be seen to this day.
There are hundreds of landmarks all over Aotearoa New Zealand named for Kupe and his adventures, but it was in Hokianga that he settled for a time before returning to his homeland of Hawaiki. He named it Te Hokianga Nui a Kupe – the great returning place of Kupe, and generations later, his descendants returned to start a new life there.
Thirty-two generations later, his descendants still live there and they have created a powerful, immersive story-telling experience in honour of the great adventurer.
A 4D experience
Over a thrilling 90 minutes, Manea’s guides will lead you through a traditional Māori welcome into their state-of-the-art 4D theatre, where you’ll relive the adventures of Kupe through a combination of immersive performance, film and digital interaction.
You’ll experience Kupe’s epic journey across the Pacific in pursuit of Te Wheke a Muturangi, the giant octopus. This chase led Kupe and his family all the way from distant Hawaiki to these islands, where his wife Hine-te-Aparangi saw a long cloud in the distance, a sign that land was near. She named the new land Aotearoa, land of the long white cloud.
Manea also has an interactive learning centre where you’ll learn more about the history of Hokianga and its people, and a gift store filled with treasures by local makers so you can support the unique artisans of the area.
Descendants of Kupe
The idea for Manea Footprints of Kupe was seeded 30 years ago, when the elders of four local marae (tribal centres and meeting grounds) got together to conceive of a place that would teach their unique history, provide jobs for the community, and create a legacy for future generations.
The building was finally opened in 2020, and now hundreds of school children come from all over the area to learn about Kupe from his very own descendants, alongside the visitors that come from near and far.