The Aoraki region is well known for the extensive and concentrated examples
of Māori rock art preserved in limestone shelters, caves and semi-permanent se lements. Ancestors of the Arowhenua people in the earliest tribal groups
of Rapuwai and Waitaha are credited with the traditional artworks that adorn
the walls, ceilings and favourite places of the old people throughout the area.
An abundance of sites have been identified across hundreds of kilometres of landscape and trails with existing research suggesting some of the artwork to be a thousand years.
Te Rūnanga o Arowhenua is a key stakeholder in the Ngāi Tahu Māori Rock Art Trust, established in 2002, to support rūnanga and their communities in the
care, management and interpretation of their Māori Rock Art heritage. The main objectives of the Trust are the preservation and protection of ancient rock art for the benefit of Kāi Tahu whānui, and for all New Zealander’s, and to take a leading role in the conservation and management of rock art throughout Ngāi Tahu’s tribal boundaries.