National Geographic Traveller (UK)



The author explains his mission to tread ancient Māori routes

One of the joys of tramping (longdistan­ce hiking) is storytelli­ng. At day’s end, you tell yarns around the fire. Being regularly out in the bush with family and friends meant I heard many stories about the Southern Alps, mainly from my father’s European side. My mother is Ngāi Tahu, the largest iwi on the South Island. So, for my book Uprising, I set out to navigate the mountains using the Māori stories and ancient memory maps handed down between generation­s.

We’ve all been guilty of saying we’re going into the ‘wilderness’, but the truth is that pretty much every place is known, owned and has a name. Māori have an oral tradition, meaning place names hold memories. As you move through the landscape, visiting lakes, mountains and glaciers, each name conjures up ancestors and events. By writing about these routes, I’m honouring the stories that have been obscured by colonisers. It took nearly a decade for me to complete my walks and write my book. By asking the right questions we can have a much richer experience of the outdoors.

The Milford Track is one of the more accessible routes that was originally a Māori trail. It’s beautifull­y smooth and you can do it independen­tly or as part of a guided walk. In Milford, the closest you can get to experienci­ng how Māori saw the fjords is by sea kayak, with Rosco’s Milford Kayaks. alpinerecr­ roscosmilf­

MORE INFO: Uprising by Nic Low is published by The Text Publishing Company, £20.

 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom