Story: Volcanic Plateau places

Roadside Stories: Lake Rotoaira

The famed ‘Ka mate’ haka – well known for being performed before rugby games – was composed by Ngāti Toa chief Te Rauparaha as he hid from pursuers on an island in Lake Rotoaira. He was concealed in a kūmara (sweet potato) pit, with the local chief’s wife squatting above him. The lake is also a reservoir of water for hydroelectric power generation.

Listen to a Roadside Story about Lake Rotoaira and the origins of the haka. Roadside Stories is a series of audio guides to places around New Zealand.

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Archival audio sourced from Radio New Zealand Sound Archives. Sound files may not be reused without permission from Radio New Zealand Sound Archives (ID430 Recording of the All Blacks performing the haka during the 1963-1964 tour of the United Kingdom).

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How to cite this page:

Malcolm McKinnon, 'Volcanic Plateau places - Tongariro area', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 17 October 2021)

Story by Malcolm McKinnon, updated 25 May 2015