Rarotonga once stood 87 metres high and was an extensively terraced defensive pā.
The name Rarotonga translates to 'the lower south' and is a name brought over from the ancestral homeland Hawaiki. Another name Te Ipu Kura a Maki is a reference to the crater at Rarotonga, and translates as 'the red bowl of Maki'.
Rarotonga erupted around 20,000 years ago on the southeast edge of the Maungakiekie lava flow field. The explosive eruptions and fire fountaining created a scoria cone 87 metres high, and a small crater in the tihi (summit).
Lava flowed out 300 hectares, some of which now forms the foreshore of the Manukau harbour at Māngere.
From 1865 until the 1960s Rarotonga / Mt Smart was heavily quarried, to the point that only the lower slopes on the southern and eastern sides of the Maunga survived. These slopes were planted with Pohutukawa trees in the 1940s.
The quarry is now the site of Mt Smart Stadium.
MT SMART STADIUM
The Mt Smart Stadium first opened within the old quarry area in 1967, and was further developed for the 1990 Commonwealth Games. It is now one of New Zealand’s premier outdoor concert, festival and sports venues.
As well as the main arena, Mt Smart features an international standard athletics facility, multi-purpose function spaces and a range of community-focused facilities catering for more than 500,000 visitors a year.
Mt Smart Stadium is home to Athletics Auckland, Auckland Football Federation, Oceania Football Confederation and the Vodafone Warriors.
Click here for more information.
Main entrance gate opening times:
Times align with daylight-savings.
16 Beasley Avenue, Penrose, Auckland.