Labyrinths New Zealand

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Whanganui River

Whanganui River- Jerusalem 001

Māori view the Whanganui River as a place of deep spiritual, cultural and historical significance. Starting as an alpine stream on Tongariro and gathering waters from Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu, the Whanganui is New Zealand’s longest navigable river.

A Māori legend recounts the region’s origins: Ranginui (supreme universe) placed Ruapehu, alone and proud, in the centre of the North Island where the great mountain brought calm to the land.

Sensing Ruapehu’s loneliness, Ranginui placed teardrops at his feet - one of these became the source of the mighty Whanganui River - and sent companions: Tongariro / warrior guardian of the teardrops, Taranaki / custodian of the tapu (sacredness), Ngauruhoe / the ultimate servant, and Pihanga / fertile maiden (Tongariro’s bride).

When Pihanga was tempted by Taranaki's magnificence, she forced Tongariro to banish his opposition to the west where Taranaki settled in the region that bears his name.

~Extracts from

Whanganui River  002

Getting there ...

More on this site ...

Whanganui River Māori Trust Board

NZ on Screen ...

The Legend of the Wanganui River

 Short Film, 1952

Te Whiringa Taura O Whanganui
Television, 2007

River Queen
Film, 2005

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