Explore Tauranga and the fascinating Maori culture

Statue of Tangaroa

The statue of Tangaroa – bronze in colour – represents the Tangaroa, God of the Sea in Maori culture, whose duty is to protect the sea and all of its inhabitants. Sculpturist Frank Szirmay erected the statue in 1976, where it stood grasping a taiaha (a long club fighting staff) and watching proudly over the sea for decades. In recent years, with the blessing of local Kaumatua Morehu Ngatoko and Kihi Ngatai, the statue of Tangaroa has been moved to face harbour visitors, to determine whether their intentions are friendly.

Frank Szirmay portrayed Tangaroa as a crouching warrior, performing the Wero, a traditional Maori challenge given during the welcome ceremony to test the visitors’ intentions. In accordance with Maori legend, Tangaroa was son of Rangi, the sky father, and Papatuanuku, the earth mother. The statue was a gift to the people of Tauranga by one of the former mayors – Sir Bob Owens, to celebrate the centennial of the Ports of Tauranga. The area is drenched in traditional Maori culture with interesting finds with fascinating backstories at every turn.


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Departure Point

Corner of Wharf Street & The Strand
New Zealand 3110

Ph: 021 605 968
Intnl: +64 21 605 968

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