Maori Wheku (New Zealand)  LbNA # 36834

OwnerWisconsin Hiker      
Placed DateNov 20 2007
CountyOther International
LocationLake Tekapo, SI, New Zealand, INT
Found By 55 steps
Last Found Nov 1 2009
Hike Distance3-5 mi
Last EditedMay 14 2016

Location: Lake Tekapo. From SH 8, turn onto Lakeside Drive and go past the Lake Tekapo Motels and Motor Camp. At the end of the road there was construction for a Winter Sports facility (in NOV 2007). On the left side of the road you can spot a trailhead sign and map showing the path to Mt. John Summit.

Time: 2.5-3 hours if you do the entire loop

Distance: 10 km, 300 m ascent

Terrain: Wooded ascent/descent, open at summit

We planted this box while we vacationed in New Zealand. One aspect of the country that interested us was the Maori culture, so we created several boxes on this theme.

In traditional Maori carving, there are four styles of heads: the ruru, the koruru, the wheku and the human head. Each style can be told apart by the shape and the details around the eyes. Two long lines on either side of the eye are used to identify the wheku type of head.

The wheku is the most common type of figure in most parts of the country. The head is flattened across the top. Above the eyes are two inclined planes joining just above the nose and sloping up diagonally to the outer edges of the forehead. These planes bring the brows in high relief above the eyes. In older examples of wheku there were commonly two large teeth, but the number varies considerably. The tongue is usually large and curved to one side and often has a hollow down the middle. Sometimes there are two tongues, one curved to each side.

To find an example of the Wheku, begin your ascent up the trail. After a while you will reach a nice viewpoint where you can rest on a bench. Then continue onward through a gate. Eventually you will near the end of the treeline. As you approach the end, watch on the left for a very large pine that has fallen down the slope. Uphill of its stump is a smaller upright pine. This is pine #1. Count over to pine #3 and search under its leaning base to find the Wheku. The box is covered in camouflage tape so it blends in with its surroundings. Please reseal the bags and box carefully, so he will remain safe and dry. You can then continue on to loop around the summit, perhaps visiting the observatory/café. There are great views from the summit loop if you visit on a clear day. You can then return to your car on the same path you came up on.

I’d really appreciate a status update if you find the box, since we live VERY FAR away and won’t be able to check on it ourselves. Kia ora!