Story: Volcanic Plateau places

Roadside Stories: Volcano traditions

The central North Island peaks of Ngāuruhoe, Ruapehu and Tongariro – dramatically visible from the Desert Road – are active volcanoes, part of the Pacific ‘ring of fire’. One version of a Māori tradition tells of a battle among the mountains for the love of beautiful Mt Pīhanga, while another describes how the priest Ngātoroirangi, exploring the area, was caught in freezing weather and called to his sisters to send fire from their homeland, Hawaiki.

Listen to a Roadside Story about the mountains. 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 (ID30352 Nga maunga tarawarewa – the restless mountains, programme 2).

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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