Taupiri Mountain Urupa Free space Page

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Date: 1700 [unknown]
Location: Taupiri, Waikato, New Zealandmap
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Mount Taupiri Urupa

Mount Taupiri is a hill at the southern end of the Taupiri Range in the Waikato. The highest peak in the range, it rises to 288 metres above sea level and overlooks Taupiri township immediately to its south.

Mount Taupiri is a sacred mountain and now a burial ground for the Waikato iwi [tribe] of the Māori people. Originally Taupiri pā [village] was built on the summit of a spur of Taupiri mountain in the 1600s. When the chieftan Te Putu was an old man in the 1700s, he was treacherously killed at his home outside the pā. He was buried at the pā, which thus became tapu (sacred) and was abandoned to become an Urupa [cemetery]. Early European travellers in the area were obliged by Māori to cross to the other side of the Waikato River to avoid the sacred area.

The present-day burial ground is directly above State Highway 1 and the North Island Main Trunk railway line on a steep slope. Parking and access are difficult, because the cemetery is bounded by the busy State Highway and railway line, which lie largely on land that has been reclaimed from the Waikato River between the waterline and the foot of the slope. The deceased Māori kings and queen are buried in the place of sacred honour in the highest part of the cemetery, on the summit where Te Putu's pā stood.

The cemetery is owned and administered by the local Māori iwi [tribe].

NOTE: The Waikato Council maintains a smaller public cemetery nearby, Taupiri Cemetery, on the road heading to Gordonton, which should not be confused with this cemetery.

NOTE: Māori customs must be observed when entering this sacred area. This is a Māori Burial ground (Urupa) managed by the local iwi. There is very limited parking and an active rail line to cross to enter the Urupa.

LOCATION: SH 1, Taupiri, Waikato District, Waikato, New Zealand


Notable Interments

  • Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu (1931–2006), Māori Queen
  • Whatumoana Paki (died 2011), husband of Te Atairangikaahu
  • Billy T. James (1948–1991), comedian
  • Korokī Mahuta (1906–1966), Māori King - See the NZ Herald Photo Burial on Taupiri Mountain for an image of pallbearers carrying the coffin of King Korokī up Taupiri mountain in 1966.
  • Tāwhiao (1822–1894), Māori King
  • Taupiri Maori Cemetery, Waikato District, contains the official war grave of 1 man who served in the New Zealand forces during the First World War. This is Private Amo Pene who died on 28 September 1918.

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