Mount Sefton in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, South Island, New Zealand
© AWL Images/Danita Delimon
Mists, mountains and mythology
This spectacular landscape is the perfect place to mark Waitangi Day, New Zealand's national holiday. It marks the 1840 treaty between Britain and some 500 Māori chiefs that established British law in the island nation. The Treaty of Waitangi is considered New Zealand’s founding document and a cornerstone in the country’s history. It provided the framework for political relations between New Zealand’s government and the indigenous Māori people.
The glacier-capped peak of Mount Sefton shown here is one of the many tall mountains in the Southern Alps. Just a few miles away towers New Zealand's tallest peak, originally called Aoraki by the Māori, who named it after a mythological figure. The mountain was given its English name, Mount Cook, in 1851, after Captain James Cook, the British explorer who circumnavigated and mapped the country in the 1770s. An agreement in 1998 between the government and Māori leaders officially renamed both the peak and the park to Aoraki/Mount Cook. It's one of the few renamed areas in New Zealand where the Māori name precedes the English.