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Maori Language Week

Thursday, July 07, 2016

In New Zealand we celebrate Maori Language Week from the 4th of July until the 10th. 

We use Franz Josef as the name for our glacier, named after Austrian Emperor Franz Josef I, however before European explorers and settlers arrived in New Zealand the Maori had already named the glacier and a legend goes with it. 

Here is that legend which is closely linked with Fox Glacier too:

The Maori name for the glacier is Kā Roimata o Hinehukatere (The tears of Hinehukatere). Local Makaawhio people (members of Ngāi Tahu iwi/tribe) relate the tradition that Hinehukatere was extremely strong and fearless and loved climbing in the mountains. She persuaded her lover Wawe to climb with her. Wawe was less experienced in the mountains, but enjoyed accompanying his beloved. Disaster struck when an avalanche swept Wawe from the peaks to his death. Hinehukatere was broken-hearted and her tears flowed down the mountainside. The gods froze them in the form of the glacier as a reminder of her grief. The Maori name for Fox Glacier is Te Moeka o Tuawe - the bed or final resting place of Tuawe.

To find out more about Maori history and legends in our region have a look at the Glacier Country NZ website.