and Natural History
Tutu or Maungatutu
(Maori Tribe) - Ngati Ranginui
Name - Survey Point 508 No 2
- 1554 feet - 478 metres
Written Reference - 1866 Military Map names as Te Tutu Hill.
- Strata Rhyolite Volcano Symmetrical Cone with terraced hills to North East
being the direction of lava flows formed circa 1 - 2 million years ago. Volcanic
status - extinct.
Tutu Eco-Sanctuary has four Spring fed trickles of water that are the source of
the Mangarewarewa Stream which is the high source of the Waimapu River - this
then enters the Southern end of Tauranga Harbour at the Waimapu Estuary.
The Waimapu Estuary is an important ecological area for birdlife, as a natural
hatchery for fish and a significant area for Maori.
- Pre-European, tall stands of Native Rainforest - Currently, this is
predominantly confined to the South-Eastern slopes and Mount Tutu Eco-Sanctuary
on the North-West with the balance in plantation forest and pasture.
Significance - As High Point overlooking Tauranga Moana and the Pacific Ocean.
During World War II 1943 - 45 a Heliograph and Machine Gun was installed at a
time when there was a threat of Japanese invasion.
to the 1930's the area was unsuccessfully farmed by Pakeha (White Settlers)
until it was discovered that the soil was cobalt deficient. As farming
life was so difficult, the name Mt Misery became a common usage to reflect that
(this continued). These days Mount Tutu Sheep can graze without the
atrophy caused by cobalt deficiencies.
of the Tauranga Historical Society No 25 July 1965 describes
that the original Maori name for this peak as Tu-tai-whata meaning "the
high place on the terraced from which the sea can be observed" but that the
Ngati Ranginui tribes who lived in this area originally, commonly used the abbreviation
"Tu-Tu" for this peak.
However, the Oropi
News January 1984 records that Maori called this peak Tukutuku which means bird
snare, but also confirming that the Mountain is often called Tutu.
1997 following consultation with Iwi, the Department of Conservation put a sign
on the summit "Maungatutu (Mt Misery)". "Maunga" means
mountain, or alternatively Mount Tutu as in Mount Tutu Eco-Sanctuary and as used
by others. It was not uncommon for different Maori Hapu (sub tribes)
e.g. Ngati Rangiwewehi, Ngati Ruahine etc. to have different names
for features, but the name that was constant, was "Tu-Tu" and
Tutu would also have been a great strategic vantage point for the early Maori to
observe and for locating the giant
Moa bird before sending out a hunting party. The Moa was a flightless bird
up to 3 metres tall which was unfortunately hunted to extinction.
Zealand (Aotearoa) also once had a giant Eagle known as Haast's Eagle or Pouakai
which at 13 kilograms would have been the largest bird of prey the world had
seen and used to prey on Moa. The bones of this giant bird of prey
have been found on both North and South Island usually with Moa bones suggesting
that sometimes both were the loser. There is sufficient evidence,
including Maori legend, that Pouakai still existed after the arrival of the
Maori who arrived about 900 AD. Just imagine this giant Eagle soaring,
catching the updrafts and downdrafts around Mount Tutu, just as the Harrier Hawke's
nocturnal Kiwi bird now rare in the region, would have once been very
common. Unlike the Moa, the Kiwi was revered and protected by the
Maori and only the Chief wore a cloak of Kiwi feathers. Twenty years ago,
before the establishment of the Sanctuary, there were Kiwi. It is the goal of Mount Tutu Eco-Sanctuary to
Predator fence the Sanctuary so that once again the haunting shrill of Kiwi rings
out to join the Tui, Kereru, Bellbird, Morepork, and the many other enchanting
Tutu and its surrounding Bay of Plenty region, so named by Captain James Cook
because of the generosity of the local Maori, had a large pre-European
indigenous population. Following the 1864 Battle at Gate Pa, between
British Troops and Maori, there was significant land confiscation - this did not
extend to Mount Tutu which was the Ohauiti No 2 Block as this
was sold by Maori and is recorded as "Private Purchase". There are nearby
registered Maori Pa (fortress) sites and
other archeological formations, it is though a pity to observe unregistered sites being
destroyed. One nearby significant Pa and cultivation site was the Waioku Pa on
the south-western side of Mount Tutu.
1993 the Sanctuary was covenanted by the Queen Elizabeth II National Trust Act
which ensures legal protection in perpetuity. In 1988 the Short Family
established and has maintained active predator control to protect the birdlife,
conservation programmes and education tuition by Tim (a former Mountain Safety
Council Bushcraft Instructor). Mount Tutu
Eco-Sanctuary has Pukatea Trees over 500 years old and Tim and Debbie Short are
Life Members of the Queen Elizabeth II National Trust, along with their
daughters Rebecca, Jacinda and Louisa who will be lifelong nature lovers!