10 May 2012


About the southern shores of Taupo Moana are a couple of hills, each with the name, Pukekaikiore.

The name comes from local Maori legend and relates to the meeting of two tribes in battle and the overwhelming slaughter of one of them. As was the custom, the defeated were consigned to the hangi (earth oven) and in these two cases the hangi was so big that the feasting was likened to eating rats, hence the name - Puke; hill - kai; food - kiore; polynesian rat.

Ngauruhoe (left) and Pukekaikiore (right)
Ngauruhoe from Pukekaikiore

"Surrender to the sky" James K Baxter
About a week ago, while at Pukawa, I decided to make the most of a perfect day and drove over to the Pukekaikiore situated next to Mt Ngauruhoe.  It was a great day and I took my time skirting clockwise around the base of the hill towards the saddle between the two mountains.  A gully led up to the top of Pukekaikiori.  The view from the top was magnificent with Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro nearby and to the west and north I could see Taranaki and Pirongia. The first snow skiffs of winter were present on the nearby peaks. Lunch and a bottle of water on top were followed by a easy descent towards the NW.

The scrub towards the bottom slowed me enough to be able to converse with a fernbird.  Back at the carpark four young Frenchmen were looking for a ride back to their vehicle at the other end of the Tongariro Crossing.  I obliged.

I reckon that days like this lengthen your life.


  1. Hi Barry, I'm interested in learning more about the battle between the two tribes, but I can't seem to find more information. Are you able to tell me about your source? Cheers

  2. Hello Sam, I don't have my source with me at present but if you find a copy of the book "Tuwharetoa" by John Grace you should find reference to the origin of the name. If you Google "Ngati Hotu" (they were the original tribe and fairer skinned) you will find a Wikipedia reference to it also. The other Pukekaikiori is a lower but similarly shaped hill behind Kuratau. BarryS