Waitomo Caves

  • Waitomo Caves

Maori Myth and Legend

Māori often used caves as shelter, but also as burial sites, regarding them as sacred places or tapu. The original entrance to the Ruakuri cave had been used for burials, so to protect the area a new entrance was built nearby for guided walks when the cave reopened to the public in 2005.

Ruakuri means ‘den of dogs’ and Māori legend tells of a young hunter who came acros the cave around 500 years ago and was attacked by a pack of wild dogs that inhabited the entrance. The dogs were later trapped and killed before a local tribe settled near the cave.