The lesser known Mount icon

Photos: John Borren.

Hopukiore or Mount Drury is often the forgotten hill when compared to its famous counterpart Mauao, but one that offers a lot of history.

Around 1500 Maori built a pa there and it was also used as a carving school and sacred site for ta moko. The name Hopukiore, means to catch rats and once eaten and their pelts used for clothing the bones and teeth of these rats were used for carving chisels and tattooing instruments. In 1820 after the battle of Hopukiore several of the caves were used as burial sites to honour the dead. 

Colonial forces used both Mauao and Hopukiore as bases in the early 1840s and in 1852 Commander Byron Drury, arrived in Tauranga after completing a coastal survey of the Bay of Plenty. After this Hopukiore also took on the name Mount Drury.

Today, Hopukiore with its beautiful trees, caves and great views, is a bit of a hidden gem, as many head straight to Mauao. Locals in the know love the fact that this is a quiet space, to sit under a tree, walk the dog, or get some exercise without the crowds.

Standing only 40 metres high, Mount Drury proves you don’t have to be big to be great.

The Weekend Sun photographer John Borren captured scenes around Hopukiore.

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Cave Dwellers

Posted on 11-05-2021 16:13 | By

Hopukiore or Mount Drury also has homeless people living in the caves on the Pacific Avenue side.