Lake Taupo is the North Island’s heart according to Māori legend.
Lake Taupo is the largest lake by surface area in New Zealand. It has a perimeter of approximately 193 kilometres and a deepest point of 186 metres.
Lake Taupo lies in a caldera created by a supervolcanic eruption which occurred approximately 26,500 years ago. According to geological records, the volcano has erupted 28 times in the last 27,000 years. It is considered to be dormant rather than
The Maori Legend of Volcanic Fire
When Te Arawa canoe landed on the coast at Maketu after a long sea voyage from Hawaiki, among those on board was Ngatoro-i-rang, a tohunga (priest) of extraordinary power. Ngatoro set off to explore the new country. He journeyed to Taupō and claimed the land. Ngatoro then headed south, to the mountains at the far end of the lake. In order to assert his claim over the land, Ngatoro began to climb Mount Ngauruhoe. But he found a rival: Hape, a leader of one of the early peoples already living in the country was also looking to claim land and he attempted the climb as well. Ngatoro spoke to his gods who summoned up a snowstorm. Hape was destroyed but when Ngatoro reached the summit he and his slave were numb with cold. So Ngatoro called upon his sisters back in Hawaiki and asked for fire. The sisters heard him and came at once. Their fire still burns on the crater of Mt Ngauruhoe and in many other places they passed on the way, where thermal and volcanic activity exists today.
The Maori Legend of Tongariro National Park
Long ago, seven mountains stood close together around Lake Taupō. All were male except for the beautiful Pihanga. One night the men fought fiercely for her favours. There were violent eruptions, smoke and fire as the land trembled under the violent battle. In the morning Pihanga stood by the victor, Tongariro. Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu stood a respectable distance behind but Tauhara - unable to completely leave his love, sat smoldering at the northern end of the lake. Further north Putauaki slumped tired and defeated while Taranaki fled south along the Wanganui River to the shores of the Tasman Sea.
~ The Great Lake Taupo
Māori rock carvings
Māori rock carvings, on a cliff at the southern end of Mine Bay, are an important contemporary cultural attraction. The work of master carver Matahi Whakataka-Brightwell, the carvings feature Ngatoroirangi - the legendary Māori navigator who first led his people into the area. Two smaller Celtic-inspired designs depict the south wind and mermaid. Located in a remote bay and accessible only by water, the carvings can be visited by launch and kayak.
~ NZ Tourism