The Kokowai Cluster relates to the source of the Waiwhakaiho. This also implies origins and beginnings. The river sometimes runs red with ochre, so connected to this page you will find information about iron oxide – its’ significance, role and place in Māori culture. Then there is the geology of rivers. The Waiwhakaiho is also a source of andesite – which is highly valued by sculptors, uniting geology and creativity.

Kokowai is the name given to a stream that is a tributary of the Waiwhakaiho, high up on the mountain. Kokowai is also the name of a naturally occurring colour of the Earth, and is significant to Māori.

Following are links to articles related to Kokowai, in it’s many meanings.



The cultural significance of red ochre

Highly significant to Māori, red ochre has been used by cultures the world over for more than 10,000 years.
By Kura Puke



The day the Waiwhakaiho ran orange

Regional Council scientific and inspectorate staff were mobilised when the Waiwhakaiho ran bright orange – find out why and whether it is dangerous.
By the Taranaki Regional Council



The volcanic history of Taranaki

Vince Neall of Massey University talks about the volcanic history of the region from the geological perspective. The mountain has shaped Taranaki’s rivers, including the Waiwhakaiho.
Video by Green Cow



The statistical probability of an eruption of Mt Taranaki

The chance of the volcano erupting is higher than what you might think. Lahars flow from volcanoes, typically following the path of rivers.
Video by Green Cow


The seismic network around the mountain to detect dangerous events

The seismic network around the mountain is designed to detect dangerous events, which could have cataclysmic impacts on humans.
Video by Green Cow


The Waiwhakaiho and lahars

Most of New Plymouth’s water comes from the Waiwhakaiho River/Awa, what is the consequence for the people of Nga Motu/New Plymouth if a lahar occurs?
Video by Green Cow