Labyrinths New Zealand

Find labyrinths, mazes and sacred sites in New Zealand

The ta moko, or Māori tattoo, is a highly significant and highly symbolic piece of artwork. It tells you everything about the wearer; his/her whakapapa (genealogy), beliefs and place.

The land is doing that all the time, if we have the wit and time to look and listen.

It seemed to me, as I observed the intricate, interlocking spirals of the tree ferns, that I was reading the story of this place.

~ Tony Bridge

In Te Urewera, ancestral home of the Tuhoe people,close by Lake Waikaremoana, are the Mokau Falls. The road slides in front and then ducks back over them.

It was late evening and in Te Urewera, one is never alone. As I watched the river tumbling over the cliff, I became aware of being watched. The kehua (ghosts) were emerging as night fell, joyous and busy, benign and welcoming.

~ Tony Bridge


20100811_Waikaremoana-Mokau  Bay__DSC9810_0130 cop

Lake Waikaremoana is located in Te Urewera National Park. Lake Waikaremoana is sacred to the Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Ruapani and Ngāti Kahungunu people.

Hine-pukohu-rangi came from the sky luring Te Maunga, the mountain, to earth with her. Their child was a mortal being, Tuhoepotiki; his descendants are the Tuhoe people. Tuhoe are thus children of the supernatural, born of the remote mountain and the drifting mist.

~ Department of Conservation

The Formation of Lake Waikaremoana

Legend tells that long ago a chief, Maahu and his wife Kau Ariki lived with their eight children at Wairaumoana. The people of the area drew their water from two springs, Waikotikoti and Te Puna A Taupara. Waikotikoti was very tapu and the water from here was used for sacred purposes only, while the water from Te Puna A Taupara was for domestic use. One evening Maahu sent his children to fetch water to quench his thirst. However, six of the children brought water from the sacred spring Waikotikoti which was closer. When Maahu discovered this he flew into a rage and turned his children to stone, Te Whanau A Maahu - The Offspring of Maahu.

Haumapuhia, the remaining daughter, searched for her father and found him still enraged at Waikotikoti. When Maahu saw Haumapuhia arrive he thought that she too planned to collect water from this sacred place. Outraged he grabbed her and drowned her in the water. She immediately became a taniwha and like all good taniwha had an uncontrollable urge to reach the great ocean of Kiwa.

First she thrust north but was barred by the Huiarau Range and so the Whanganui Inlet was gouged out. Next she thrust eastward and the Whanganui 0 Parua arm was formed. One after the other the arms of the lake were made in this fashion. Haumapuhia's fast desperate attempt to escape was made at Te Wharawhara near Onepoto. She forced her way through the narrow barrier but as she emerged head first she was overtaken by daylight, fatal to taniwha, and turned to stone. There she still lies buried in the bed of the Waikaretaheke River.


Kehua, Mokau Falls-1

Getting there ...

More on this site ...

Waikare-Moana, the Sea of the Rippling Waters
by Elsdon Best

Photography Workshops ...

Tony Bridge leads photography workshops at Lake Waikaremoana.

"Each year the workshop is a revelation. Each year the participants come, intending to move their work forward, subconsciously (or not) intending to move themselves forward. And each year, to a greater or lesser extent, it happens.

See "Kete….weaving a narrative" for a description of the 2009 journey.

The workshop, exhibition and experiences

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