21 December 2018. By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes
Ngati Porou are looking to boost the East Coast economy through tourism by opening the gate for tourists to experience the sacred ancestral mountain Hikurangi, the first place in the world to witness the new dawn each day.
Matanuku Mahuika (Ngati Porou) says, “Hikurangi is the first mountain to witness the new dawn each day. That's significant for those who wish to visit the East Coast”.
Confiscated by the Crown in 1870, governing rights over Mt. Hikurangi were returned to Ngati Porou in 1990.
Mahuika says “Because this is a new venture, we'll take our time. Ngati Porou Holding Company want to support the growth of tourism in on the East Coast”.
MBIE International Survey results show that Tair?whiti has the fastest growing annual tourism spend, with over $150m spent in the year to May 2018.
Maunga Hikurangi - Journey to First light tourism manager Jason Gerrard says, “Through Maunga Hikurangi we're hoping that we generate more exposure, attract the visitors to the region and hopefully it supports all those aspects of business development”.
Matanuku Mahuika says the goal is to provide opportunities for local enterprise and families on the East Coast.
“Establishing an initiative for Hikurangi creates opportunities for all”, says Mahuika.
The Maunga Hikurangi - Journey to First Light tours will commence in the New Year.