Fox Glacier Viewpoint / Te Kopikopiko o te Waka

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.

How to get 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.