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Mauao is a historic reserve. It is owned by iwi and managed by Tauranga City Council.

Mauao historic reserve is owned by local iwi Ngai Te Rangi, Ngati Ranginui and Ngati Pukenga in the form of the Mauao Trust. The reserve is managed jointly by the Mauao Trust and Tauranga City Council under the direction of the Ngā Poutiriao ō Mauao (Mauao Joint Administration Board).

Legend of Mauao (33kb pdf)


Mauao historic reserve.

Mauao Placemaking

Ko Mauao te Maunga, ko Tauranga te Moana. Mauao is the mountain, and Tauranga is the sea.

An icon and taonga here in Tauranga Moana, Mauao has long stood as a beacon for those returning home or visiting.

A collaborative project between Tauranga City Council and Ngā Poutiriao ō Mauao (the Mauao Joint Administration Board), Mauao Placemaking sets out to share the rich history and stories that Mauao holds through new wayfinding signage and cultural touchpoints across the maunga (mountain).

The project encourages those that call Tauranga Moana home to rediscover the history of the maunga and for those visiting to immerse themselves in the history of Mauao.

Mauao Placemaking news articles


We’re thankful for the support from the Port of Tauranga of $150,000 in helping to bring the Awaiti Viewing Platform to life.

Project Update

As part of Te Mahere Whakamahinga o Mauao, over the past 18 or so months, many cultural touchpoints have been added to the maunga, including:

  • Wayfinding and interpretation signage, which shares the ecological significance and cultural narrative of Mauao.
  • New seating, which provides an opportunity for our community to reflect and connect with this iconic taonga.
  • The cultural compass, located at the summit of the maunga. This features a pounamu touchstone at the centre, allowing people the opportunity to participate in protecting Te Manawataki o Mauao (the heartbeat and rhythm). The rings of the cultural compass on Te Tihi o Mauao, radiate out, identifying significant landmarks and islands that connect Mauao to Te Moana nui a Kiwa (Pacific Ocean) and highlight select stars and markers used by early navigators. The first part of the cultural compass was unveiled during the Tauranga Moana Matariki celebrations in 2022.
  • A total of six stone carvings (kōhatu whakairo) are also being homed across the maunga. Three kōhatu were recently settled on Mauao at the beach near Te Kawa, the Karewa Hairpin and Te Toka a Tirikawa. Each kōhatu represents different themes. Their naming and blessing will follow after they have rested for a period in their new home (hau kāinga).
  • In addition, Te Arataki o Mauao - a digital application that shares stories (via smartphone) about Mauao - is helping visitors to understand and experience Mauao in a new way.


There are several tracks to the summit. Mauao is 232m high, and it takes about 40 minutes to get to the top. On a hot day it can be hard work – pace yourself and take water, sunscreen and a hat. Tracks are busy, so please keep left and share with care. Please also remove all rubbish and leave gates as you find them.

Motukauri is one of several tracks which lead to the summit of Mauao (Te Tihi o Mauao) and can be steep and slippery in places. This track does not feature stairs. Shoes with grip soles are recommended. 

Emergency markers - getting help on Mauao

Finding your way around Mauao

Mauao - Map and Guide Brochure (5.26mb pdf)

Mauao walkway information


Our disabled whānau and friends can also enjoy the views from the Mauao summit and other locations - all from the comfort of an all-terrain wheelchair.

Te Kaiwhakatere, the bookable TrailRider information


Toilets are in front of the surf club and opposite the boat ramp at Pilot Bay.


No fires are permitted on Mauao at any time. This includes cigarettes, lighters, fireworks and any recreational fires.

Mauao Historic Reserve Management Plan

In 2018, Council adopted the Mauao Historic Reserve Management Plan, which guides the way Mauao will be managed.

Mauao Historic Reserve Management Plan 2018 (9.6mb pdf)

Mauao logo

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