Maori Rock Carvings in Mine Bay, Taupo (with Map & Photos)

Rock Carvings in Mine Bay, Taupo, New Zealand. The story behind these grandiose rock carvings is as follows: in the late 70s of the last century, Matahi Whakataka-Brightwell carving master, completing a 10-year period of training in traditional Maori crafts, returned to Taupo, his mother's homeland. To mark the end of an important period in his life, he conceived a grandiose project - to carry out several cave paintings on the rocks in Mine Bay.

Ngatoroirangi Mine Bay Rock Carving Lake Taupo
Ngatoroirangi Mine Bay Rock Carving Lake Taupo

The most important and famous image (in the first photo) is the portrait of the Maori navigator Ngatoroirangi. More than a thousand years ago, Ngatoirangi led the people of the two Maori tribes Tuwharetoa and Te Arawa to Lake Taupo, where they established their settlements. The image is made in the traditional Maori style of carving.

Ngatoroirangi Mine Bay Rock Carving Lake Taupo
Ngatoroirangi Mine Bay Rock Carving Lake Taupo

The main image, a portrait of Ngatoiranga, is over 10 meters high. It took Matahi and his four assistants 4 years to complete this work. More precisely, 4 summers, since, taking into account the weather factor, the craftsmen could work only in the summer.

Ngatoroirangi Mine Bay Rock Carving Lake Taupo
Ngatoroirangi Mine Bay Rock Carving Lake Taupo

The rock sculptures are a gift from Matahi Taupo. For his work, the master did not take any money, apart from small donations that the owners of the local bar made in his favor. The donations allowed Matahi to recoup the cost of the scaffolding he used in his work.

Ngatoroirangi Mine Bay Rock Carving Lake Taupo
Ngatoroirangi Mine Bay Rock Carving Lake Taupo

You can see the rock paintings of Matahi only from a boat, and close up - only by swimming to the place on a kayak.

Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings Map