Taupo Maori Carvings

Some people may think Great Lake Taupo doesn’t have any cultural appeal for tourists like Rotorua has. Yes, Taupo does have the largest and greatest Lake in New Zealand but it does have some very cool Maori cultural history as well.

Taupo (pronounced toe paw) has had an increase in cultural enthusiasts thanks to the Maori Rock carvings. Taupo Maori Rock carvings can be found in Mine Bay on great lake Taupo. Only accessible by water the 14 metre tall rock carvings are a unique “Must Do” attraction when visiting Taupo. The carvings were created y a Maori Sculpture/carver, Matahi Brightwell. He lead a small group of four artists to carve an image of his ancestor Ngatoroirangi on the rock face. Ngatoroirangi was a powerful high priest whose family arrived on the Tainui canoe to claim the local lands.

The Taupo Maori Rock Carving represents the full face tattoo of Ngatoroirangu, the high priest. He was the one that led his people safely across from the Bay of Plenty where they first landed on the shores of Aotearoa.
The facial tattoo (tamoko) tells the story of his Whakapa or family.

Learn more about the history of the carvings subject Ngatoroirangi – Click here


How to get to Mine Bay and the Maori Carvings…

You can only get to Mine bay to see theses fantastic Maori rock carvings by taking a boat cruise or kayak. The number 1 Rock Carving tour is aboard Sail Barbary – www.sailbarbary.com


Top ways to get to Mine Bay



Excellent works of art carved into the cliffs of the lake. Only accessible by boat. Don’t expect ancient history, these are present day artworks.

We went on a cruise to the Maori Rock Carvings. There was tea, coffee and biscuits included in the cost of the cruise. The skipper and crew were excellent and entertained and looked after the passengers well throughout the cruise. Good value for money

We had a late afternoon trip with a free drink (and an arranged antipasto plate), which was lovely. The carvings are not ancient, but very impressive anyway. The boat goes very close for great photos. On the way back it goes through the various bays and explains their history. Nice 1 1/2 hour trip to get there and back.

We visited the carvings with a boat trip with Ernest Kemp Cruises. They aren’t old carvings, but an artist and a team of four finished the in the early 1980’s. Nevertheless a beautiful work of art, only to be seen from a boat. Exceptional

We visited the Maori Rock carvings as part of a Kayaking activity. Whilst the carvings are a relatively recent, and non-traditional artifact, they are incredibly detailed, well constructed and emblematic representation of Maori legends. I would recommend a visit when in Taupo.