Cape Reinga is the northern most point on the North Island of New Zealand, and it’s off this coast where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean.
It’s one of those magical destinations that you see on a map, dream of getting to one day, but never quite make it. This has been true for Anne and I, but on this trip we did make it, and we are very glad we did.
Whilst we really enjoyed the vista of the rugged coast line, the lighthouse, and the meeting of the sea’s, it’s the Maori Legends which are worthy of re-telling. For them, it’s an ancient pohutukawa tree that marks the significance of Cape Reinga (Te Rerenga Wairua).
“It’s here that after death, all Māori spirits travel up the coast and over the wind-swept vista to the pohutukawa tree on the headland of Te Rerenga Wairua. They descend into the underworld (reinga) by sliding down a root of the tree and into the sea below. The spirits then travel underwater to the Three Kings Islands where they climb out onto Ohaua, the highest point of the islands and bid their last farewell before returning to the land of their ancestors, Hawaiiki-A-Nui.” (source – www.doc.govt.nz)
The Maori’s also have a story for the meeting of the seas.
“Te Rerenga Wairua marks the separation of the Tasman Sea (to the west) from the Pacific Ocean. These turbulent waters are where the male sea Te Moana Tapokopoko a Tawhaki meets the female sea Te Tai o Whitireia.
The whirlpools where the currents clash are like those that dance in the wake of a waka (canoe). They represent the coming together of male and female – and the creation of life.” (source – story board at Cape Reinga)
So Cape Reinga is not only the sacred place where Maori’s bid their last farewell, but also where life begins.