Point of Interest – The Giant’s Bite

TheGiantBiteFrom this vantage point looking east you can see the ‘bite’ associated with the legend of Te Mata. From the Heretaunga Plains, the hill can be seen as the prostrate body of the chief Rongokako, the grandfather of Kahungunu and ancestor of all iwi of Ngāti Kahungunu. The legend tells how Te Mata o Rongokako, leader of the coastal Waimarama tribes, had set out to make war against the Heretaunga peoples but instead was lured by Hinerakau, the beautiful daughter of a Pakipaki chief. Hinerakau set Rongokako many impossible tasks, the last of which was to bite his way through the hills between the coast and the plains so that people could come and go with greater ease. Te Mata died proving his love, choking on the last mouthful of the earth of Te Mata Park and today his work can be seen in the hills as what is known as The Gap or Pari Karangaranga (echoing cliffs). The outline of his fallen body seen from the Heretaunga Plains includes Te Mata Peak, also known as The Sleeping Giant.