18 January 2019

The story of Kā Roimata ō Hine Hukatere

by Emma Mulder

The Māori name for Franz Josef Glacier is Kā Roimata ō Hine Hukatere (The tears of Hine Hukatere). 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?

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

Hine Hukatere 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. Hine Hukatere 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 ō Hine Hukatere (The tears of Hine Hukatere).

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