With panoramic views of The Southern Alps and a great vantage for Fox Glacier, Te Kopikopiko o te Waka is a Tohu Whenua site that tells the Ngai Tahu story of creation.


Family Friendly, Short Walk (under 1 hour)

Previously known as Peak View and redeveloped as a Tohu Whenua cultural heritage site in 2022,  Te Kopikopiko o te Waka was conceived, designed and carved by Ngati Mahaki in partnership with the Department of Conservation and the Fox Glacier community.

The area is landscaped with walkways suitable for all fitness levels and a waka presents the whakapapa of manu whenua and the overarching story of Te Kopikopiko o te Waka. Enjoy the picnic area and on a clear day use the plane table to identify the peaks of the Southern Alps.

The Story

Kopikopiko o te Waka translates as ‘the capsized canoe’ and is a treasured Ngai Tahu creation story. Specifically, it refers to the creation of the Southern Alps and the South Island itself, or Te Waka o Aoraki (Aoraki’s canoe). Today the South Island is known widely as Te Waipounamu, but a much older name is Te Waka o Aoraki.

In Ngāi Tahu mythology, Aoraki and his brothers – all sons of Ranginui the god of the sky – made a voyage from the heavens intending to meet their father’s new wife, Papatūānuku, the god of the earth. However, they found only a vast ocean so they began their return to the sky but Aoraki, as the eldest and leader, forgot the karakia at the vital moment and the waka crashed back into the sea, where it remains, capsized on its side with Aoraki and his brothers all petrified as New Zealand’s tallest mountains.

Getting there

From Fox Glacier Village, turn off the Main Road / State Highway 6 and drive down Cook Flat Road. Drive past the turn off for Lake Matheson and continue on till the road becomes unsealed. Just before the Clearwater Creek Bridge on the right is Te Kopikopiko o te Waka.

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