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Ruaumoko Guardian of Waimangu

Your journey into Waimangu’s valley has begun...

A magnificent carving of Ruaumoko, God of volcanoes and seasons stands before you with Mt Tarawera as its backdrop. Commissioned by Waimangu Volcanic Valley, and carved out of Totara wood by Rotorua carver, Iwi Le Compte, a graduate of the carving school at the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute in Te Puia.

Ruaumoko is the unborn child of Papatuanuku (Earth Mother) and Rangi (Sky Father). Papatuanuku was pregnant when she was turned face down to Rarohenga (the Underworld or Spirit World) and hence Ruaumoko never emerged into the upper world or saw the light of day.

According to Maori myth, Ruaumoko represents earthquakes and all volcanic phenomena. It is by these means that man feels the trembling of the restless child within Papatuanuku.

Ruaumoko, together with Whiro his brother, makes war against the offspring of Tane (mankind) to avenge the separation of their parents (Earth and Sky).

One day, Whiro suggested that they should return to ao-turoa, the upper world, to fight. But Ruaumoko said, “You belong to the upper world. Go you thither and fight. But I belong to the under world and I will conduct my own warfare”.

Whiro inquired, “But what weapons will serve you?” Replied Ruaumoko “I will procure one from Puna-te-waro, wherein is conserved ahi-komau” (subterranean fire, also know as ahi-tipua, supernatural fire).

Earthquakes are caused by Ruaumoko turning over in his subterranean home. If summer is approaching he is said to be turning warmth uppermost; if winter approaches, cold uppermost.

Ngati Awa people believe that Ruaumoko is also the origin of thunder, which he uses to separate summer and winter.

Ruaumoko took Hine-nui-te-po as his wife in the underworld. This is curious because, while Ruaumoko is the destroyer of mankind, Hine is the protector of the spirits of the dead.
Visitor Options & Prices
Take a self-guided walk or hike around this amazing volcanic valley, join our popular lake boat cruise, or book one of three guided tours.
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