Posted By QEII National Trust | February 24, 2019

On what can only be described as a pearler of a day in the sunny beachside town of Mahia, the team from QEII National Trust busied themselves to officially open the new Mokotahi Hill track.

The track opening was highly anticipated by QEII and locals alike, with the new track boasting improved access to ensure that more people would be able to enjoy the track and the views it has to offer of the idyllic town of Mahia.

“The project to upgrade the Mokotahi Hill track and the journey that it has taken to get here goes well before my time at QEII” says QEII CEO, Mike Jebson. “Because of this, it felt right to have an event and invite everyone who has had a part in making this happen, our local landowners and, of course, Mahia locals”

The stunning weather, hitting highs of 32 degrees, contributed in bringing the crowds in to the event, with over 70 people in attendance, including local children from Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Parehuia and Te Mahia School. The event began with QEII Regional Representative for Gisborne, Malcolm Rutherford, sharing his experiences throughout the process of upgrading the track and reflecting on the steps that it took to get to the finished track. Guests were also pleased to hear about the cultural significance of the hill and surrounding areas before a blessing from Arthur Williams.

“Mokotahi Hill was originally gifted to the trust by the Ormond family to ensure its long-term protection.” Rutherford says “no opening would be complete without a ribbon cutting. QEII always knew we wanted to have someone connected to the hill and its history cutting the ribbon and opening the track, so we were very happy when a representative of the Ormond family was put forward to do it”


Guests were invited to walk up the hill on the new track at their leisure, with archaeologist Kevin Jones gathering everyone halfway up the track to share stories about interesting archaeological finds during the upgrade process, and shared information on the middens and terraces on the hill.


“It was great to see how many people were keen to do the walk with us and learn a bit more about the history of Mokotahi Hill” says Rutherford.

After completing the climb up the widened track with over 250 new steps, the group reached the top of Mokotahi Hill. With panoramic views across Mahia Peninsula and views over to Cape Kidnappers on a clear day, the new track launch was a success with all guests, young and old alike with Pierre Vermunt taking the time to explain the landscape to us and sharing the stories that underpin the special relationship Ngati Rongomawahine has with the whales.

“The last section of the track is certainly the steepest, but the reward of the amazing view at the end is more than worth it” says QEII CEO Mike Jebson. “we hope that the new track will mean more people can experience this iconic New Zealand landmark and QEII will continue to work with local councils to ensure that it is maintained and remains protected for future generations to enjoy”

QEII wants more people to experience, appreciate and respect New Zealand’s diverse heritage by encouraging public access to land we own ourselves and where possible, land protected by other open space covenantors.


To find out how to get to Mokotahi Hill, or to find other protected places you can visit, go to our ‘Places to Visit’ page here.