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Rotopōhueroa (Lake Constance)

Rotopōhueroa (“the long calabash”) is another key landmark for the iwi. Named and discovered by Ngāti Apa tīpuna, it was traditionally used for hauhunga (bone cleansing) ceremonies involving deceased females. As with the bones of males, the cleansed bones were later deposited in Te Kai ki o Maruia (the Sabine Valley).

Once the bones had been washed, the spirits were released and they would journey from Rotopōhueroa along the West Coast and Te Taitapu (the sacred pathway) to Te One Tahua (Farewell Spit), Te Rēinga and then to Hawaiki.

The name “Rotopōhueroa” evokes the calabash as a receptacle for the placenta (whenua), giving Rotopōhueroa further significance within Ngāti Apa cosmology and beliefs.