Source: Auckland Council
Throughout June, we’re celebrating and participating in Auckland’s thriving Māori identity.
Take some time this month to explore Māori identity yourself using AklPaths, an easy to use online tool to find walking and cycle paths in Tāmaki Makaurau.
Check out our top path picks to learn more about areas of significance to Māori:
Wenderholm Perimeter Path
Start the Wenderholm Perimeter Path by the pou whenua (carving), which represents the physical and spiritual connection of tangata whenua (people of the land) to the region.
Climb to the top of Maungatauhoro, a wāhi tapu (sacred place). Maungatauhoro is the burial place of important Te Kawerau and Ngāti Rongo ancestors, who are the kaitiaki (guardians) of Wenderholm.
The track descends past Kākaha Pā (defended fortification), one of a number of pā in the Mahurangi area built sometime after the 1500s.
Ōrewa Estuary Path
Take a scenic walk or bike ride around the Ōrewa Estuary Path (Te Ara Tahuna). The estuary was an important kai gathering place for Māori.
You’ll pass a pou whenua representing Tangaroa, the Polynesian god of the sea, which serves as kaitiaki of the area.
The pou whenua symbolises the importance of the estuary as an arrival and departure place for waka and modern vessels.
Ōtuataua Stonefields Path
Ōtuataua Stonefields is a wāhi tāpu to descendants of Te Wai-o-Hua. The 100-hectare area is one of only two major remnants of 8000-hectares of volcanic stonefields. The stonefields are still visible as you walk along Ōtuataua Stonefields Path.
Much of the reserve was gardened and whare (houses) were built along the rock terraces. Māori used the warm volcanic stones in the soil to extend the growing season of crops like kūmara and taro by another month. The stonework was later built on by Europeans to create dry stone walls used to fence farms.
Tāpapakanga Historic Path
Tāpapakanga Historic Path loops around part of Tāpapakanga Regional Park, which historically supported several Māori kāinga (villages). You’ll see evidence of kāinga as you pass pā sites and stone heaps.
Head towards the park entrance at the end of your walk and find two pou whenua commemorating Māori relationship to the land. James Ashby, who settled the land in 1899, is depicted on the pou whenua carrying an axe. This symbolises his life-long friendship with local chief, Tukumana Te Taniwha.
Poukaraka Pā Path
Poukaraka Pā Path is in Whakanewha Regional Park, an area which had perhaps eight centuries of exclusive Māori settlement, ending in 1839.
Whakanewha was rich with resources. The shallow waters were home to pipis, mussels and cockles, with fish further out. The Whakariewha stream provided fresh water, and the Pourakaraka wetland was home to many species of birds and a source of raupō and flax.
Along your walk, you’ll pass a pā site on the headland, with kūmara pits recognisable by their indentations in the hill.
Tāmaki Drive Coastal Path
The scenic Tāmaki Drive Coastal Path begins at Takaparawhau / Bastion Point, which carries rich historical significance.
In 1976, the government announced plans to sell off and subdivide the land for private housing development. Historically, this land belonged to Ngāti Whātua, but through multiple land confiscations, this land was lost.
Ōrākei Māori Action Committee led an occupation for 506 days in protest, until policed cleared the protesters and arrested 222 people. Ten years later, the Waitangi Tribunal supported Ngāti Whātua’s grievance claims and the land was returned to Ngāti Whātua.
Glen Eden to Kaurilands Path
Start the Glen Eden to Kaurilands Path at the Glen Eden train station and make your way past the pou whenua which stands by the library.
The six metres tall pou whenua marks the rohe (tribal area) of Te Kawerau ā Maki and was carved from a single piece of kauri timber.
At the top, a figure positioned in a haka pose symbolises the time when power to hold life and land was mostly physical. The middle and bottom figures represent a sports player and learning, reflective of modern times.
Together, the figures represent the history of the area and connect to, and value, the library as a source of information and knowledge.
See more on AklPaths
Enjoy these paths and explore many others across the region on aklpaths.co.nz