Story: Ngāi Tahu

Aoraki (Mt Cook) in the Southern Alps

Aoraki (Mt Cook) in the Southern Alps

Aoraki (Mt Cook) is the highest peak in the Southern Alps, the central mountain range of the South Island. In the past many believed that the Māori name for Mt Cook, Aorangi (which in the Ngāi Tahu dialect is Aoraki), meant 'the cloud-piercer'. But Aorangi was a person. According to tradition, when the canoe in which he and his brothers were voyaging in the south-west Pacific was wrecked, he scrambled to the highest point of the canoe's upturned hull. One early name for the South Island is Te Waka o Aoraki (Aoraki's canoe).

About this item

GNS Science
Reference: 36152
Photograph by Lloyd Homer

Permission of GNS Science must be obtained before any use of this image.

How to cite this page:

Te Maire Tau. 'Ngāi Tahu - The move south', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 8-Jul-13
URL: http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/1648/aoraki-mt-cook-in-the-southern-alps