Te Mata Peak

Looking up at Te Mata Peak is nearly as dramatic as the view from the top. This was taken about half way up, past the Peak House cafe looking south. You can just make out Te Mata Peak Road off to the right. Due to the camera angle the actual peak is on the left of the three tallest looking parts of the mountain. The other two are lower but from this low angle look higher. The Te Mata hillscape has a legendary story. Many centuries ago the people living in pa (fortified villages) on the Heretaunga Plains. They were under constant threat of war from the coastal tribes of Waimarama. At a gathering, a wise woman suggested that the leader of the Waimarama tribes, a giant named Te Mata, could be made to fall in love with Hinerakau, the daughter of a Pakipaki chief. Turning his thoughts from war to peace. This mission was quickly accomplished. Te Mata fell under the spell of the beautifully Hinerakau. The people of Heretaunga had not forgotten the past and wanted revenge. They demanded that Hinerakau make Te Mata prove his devotion by accomplishing impossible tasks. His last task was to bite through the hills between the coast and the plains. So that people could come and go with greater ease. Te Mata died while eating his way through the hills. His half-accomplished work can be seen in what is known as The Gap or Pari Karangaranga (echoing cliffs) and his prostrate body forms Te Mata Peak.

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