The story of Waiomio caves begins in the 17th Century with two Ngāpuhi women.

Ngāti Tu ancestress Roku had escaped her husband and found sanctuary in Waiomio, among the galaxies of glowworms.

Exploring the area with her brothers and father, our ancestress Hineāmaru spotted smoke snaking from the hillside. Making her way closer, she came across the glowworm lit cavern and ultimately Roku beside her campfire in the heart of the cave.

Our whānau (family) descend from Hineāmaru and from Kawiti, a renowned warrior and chief during early European arrival years.

Our grandfather, Te Tawai Kawiti, was the first to welcome manuhiri (visitors) in the early 1950s. He saw the wonder manuhiri found in the glowworms and rock formations, but also in our family history and tribal culture.

We continue our koro’s (grandfather) legacy, as kaitiaki (guardians). We keep our visitor numbers low and our experience boutique, as we share the 200-metre limestone cave system, galaxies of glowworms, stalactites and stalagmites, a return bushwalk, corridor of karst rock and pristine rainforest.


Waiomio Caves

Max Lloyd

+64 27 553 1041