Te Ao Māori on the Pou Herenga Tai Twin Coast Cycle Trail

Published 2021-09-13

Pou Herenga Tai Twin Coast Cycle Trail is a journey into Te Ao Māori – ngā tāngata, whakapapa, whenua and mātauranga that give this place its unique mauri and identity. Kei te haere koe i runga i to pahikara – get on your bicycle – to deepen your knowledge, make new connections, and improve your reo Māori while enjoying a Great Ride full of local hospitality, lovely scenery and significant historic sites.

Experience manaakitanga at Te Rito Marae

Sharing manaakitanga (hospitality), mātauranga Māori (knowledge) and kai (food) on the Pou Herenga Tai Twin Coast Cycle Trail, the people of Te Rito offer marae stays and visits featuring a whakatau (a welcome and storytelling), accommodation, and home-cooked kai. Around 10km west of Kawakawa, Te Rito caters for groups of ten or more but welcome enquiries from manuhiri (visitors). Arrive as manuhiri (visitors), leave as whanau (family)!

Find out more here.

Manuhiri (visitors) outside Te Rito marae's wharenui (bennettandslater.co.nz).

Revisit history at Waitangi Treaty Grounds

Essential viewing for anyone visiting the Far North, Waitangi is way more than just the place where Māori and Pākehā signed the country’s founding document. See, feel, hear and understand biculturalism through excellent museum displays, historic architecture, beautifully carved waka (canoes), and spectacular visual arts and performance. A cafe, gift shop and expansive gardens complete the picture. The Treaty Grounds are close to Opua at the Bay of Islands' end of the cycle trail.

Te Whare Rūnanga at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds (David Kirkland).

Immerse yourself at Ngawha Springs

Close to Kaikohe in an unpretentious outdoor setting, these hot mineral baths will soothe your bike-weary body. A warm welcome awaits, with the Māori-owned complex yet another way to connect with tāngata whenua and hear of Ngawha’s place in history. For the best therapeutic benefits, time your visit outside of summer or on cooler evenings.

The therapeutic waters of the aptly named 'Doctor' hot pool (Ngawha Springs).

Visit the Māngungu Mission

Close to Horeke, Māngungu is a Wesleyan mission established in 1828. It’s worth going for the view alone, its hillside grounds affording a magnificent view over the inner Hokianga Harbour. When the mission house is open (Fri–Mon, 10am–4pm; Dec–April), take a trip through time taking in early Māori–Pākehā interactions, mission life and colonial architecture. Māngungu was the venue for the second, and largest, signing of the Treaty of Waitangi on February 12, 1840, which was witnessed by a crowd of around 3000 people.

Māngungu Mission marks the western end of the Pou Herenga Tai Twin Coast Cycle Trail.

Admire the views from Kaikohe's Monument Hill

Take a stroll up Monument Hill to visit the memorial to Hōne Heke Ngāpua, and for spectacular views across rural Northland. Locally born Hōne Heke earned a reputation as peacemaker in disputes between Māori and the Crown. In 1898, he hastily returned to his electorate, catching a train from Wellington to Auckland and then riding at a gallop on horseback from Auckland to Waima in the South Hokianga. He arrived just in time to defuse a face-off between Māori led by Hōne Riiwi Tōia and Crown forces. From the memorial you can also see Te Aprehama Anglican Church where Hōne Heke is buried.

Views of rural Northland and Kaikohe’s Te Aprehama Anglican Church from Monument Hill (Ruth Lawton Photography).

Practice your reo all the way along the trail

Learn about Te Tai Tokerau's fascinating Māori pūrākau (legends), whenua and tāngata, and bone up on your reo at the same time, with the trail's evocative, bi-lingual information panels. You'll find them installed at regular intervals along the whole 87km trail between Ipipiri (Bay of Islands) and Hokianga Harbour.

Explore Northland and learn te reo at the same time with the trail's evocative bi-lingual information panels (Ruth Lawton Photography).

Useful links:

Twin Coast Cycle Trail on the New Zealand Cycle Trail website. 
Pou Herenga Tai Twin Coast Cycle Trail – official trail website.
Northland New Zealand – official tourism website.