Tapuātea o Mauao Te Ara Māhiti - new plinth placed on Mauao summit in Tauranga Moana

By Marena Mane

Tauranga Moana held a special dawn ceremony this morning for Matariki.

Earlier this morning on the summit of Mauao, a large number of people gathered to welcome in the Māori New Year, Matariki, and to see a new plinth laid.

Our reporter, Mārena Mane, was excited to be a part of this special occasion with her iwi of Ngāiterangi in Tauranga Moana.

There were two trusts involved in today’s proceedings and one of those trusts is Ngā Poutiriao o Mauao, the governance body that protests and preserves the maunga. One of its members is master navigator Jack Thatcher.

“Our people of Tauranga Moana, we love our maunga, all of us and, when I was talking about the diversity as represented in all those stars of Matariki and how that reflects on our community here in Tauranga, I believe that … but we live in a diverse culture today and we have to learn to get along,” Thatcher says.

“By offering something like this that is ancient in concept but new in the way that the plinth is being created.”

One of Thatcher's waka navigator students, who also was part of the pae kaikarakia (conductors of prayer), Te Ira Tohu (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hine) says, “This is my first time coming up to Mauao at this time for Matariki. It took me a while to get up if I’m being honest. It was pretty hard, it was a bit of a struggle.”

“We were up here at 4 o’clock this morning, made our way to Mauao, had a debrief and then we made our way up but we carried up one of our taonga (prized possession) that we take on our waka, ‘Dough Boy’ so that was awesome for us," she says.

The name of the plinth on top of Mauao is called Tapuātea o Mauao - Te Ara Māhiti.