The story of Kā Roimata o Hinehukatere

The Māori name for Franz Josef Glacier is Kā Roimata o Hinehukatere ('The tears of Hinehukatere').  The story that gave the glacier its name is kind of a love story.  And like all the greats, it’s a tragic one…. do you know the tale of Franz Josef Glacier? 

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Ngāi Tahu (the local Māori tribe) tell the story of Hinehukatere who lost her true love in an avalanche while climbing in the mountains of Westland. 

Hinehukatere was extremely strong and fearless and loved climbing in the mountains. She persuaded her lover Wawe to climb with her. Wawe was less experienced in the mountains, but enjoyed accompanying his beloved.

An avalanche hit the lovers as they were climbing, and Wawe was swept from the peaks to his death.  Hinehukatere was heart-broken and her grief caused her to cry rivers of tears, which flowed down the mountain and were frozen by the gods.  Her frozen tears of aroha (love) stay as a reminder of her grief and give the glacier its name - Kā Roimata o Hinehukatere – The Frozen Tears of Hinehukatere.  It’s these glacial waters that fill the hot pools at Glacier Hot Pools. 

The local iwi at Franz Josef Glacier is Makaawhio, a sub tribe of Ngāi Tahu.  From all of us, we wish you Kā mihi o te Tau Hou Māori! Happy Māori New Year.

Puaka Matariki is the mid-winter Māori New Year observed after the rising of the star Puaka, the constellation Matariki and the following new moon.

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