Nga’i Rengarenga Vaerua - Departure Point of Spirits

Tuoro is the Maori name for the sire locally known as Black Rock. It marks the boundary between the districts of Te-Au-o-Tonga and Puaikura. The abundant black rock in the area from which it derives its English name, is basalt. It is estimated to be 1.9 million years old.

Black Rock is one of the few accessible areas remaining where visitors can see where stone was worked by the Maori people of Rarotonga during Neolithic times. In the absence of metal, the ancient Maori people depended heavily on stone for tools and tool-making.

Stone working required gravel, qatar and rocks - this it the surrounding area proved to be very useful to ancient Maori people for its ready access to all of these materials. Stones were turned into anchors, sling stones, pecking stones, adze heads, knives and other cutting tools.

“Tuoro” means to proclaim, or to challenge by calling out loudly to, as a sentry who challenges anyone approaching. Tuoro is believed to be the place where spirits of the dead leave Rarotonga. Those spirits ascend a pua tree (Fagraea berteroana) and leap from it to commerce their journey back to their ancient homeland, Avaiki, to the west. Similarly, the Maori people of Aotearoa (New Zealand) believe that Cape Reinga, in the North Island of New Zealand, is the departure point for the spirits of the Maori people to Hawaiki.

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