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Moeraki Boulders (Koekohe Beach, New Zealand)

28 views 10 April 2021

The history of the boulders is somewhat shrouded in mystery and legend. Maori stories claim the Moeraki Boulders that sit on Koekohe Beach are eel baskets and calabashes that washed ashore when the famous Araiteuru Waka (war canoe) of legend was shipwrecked at nearby Shag Point. The legend goes on to claim that the rocky shoal in the ocean here is the petrified hull of the canoe, while a jutting rock promontory is the body of the canoe’s captain.

The surprisingly spherical Moeraki Boulders formed about 65 million years ago before settling on Koekohe Beach near Moeraki. According to Maori legend, they are gourds washed ashore from the shipwreck of the canoe that brought their ancestors to New Zealand, home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.



A more boring explanation (but not to the geologists!) is that the Moeraki Boulders started forming on the ocean floor over 60 million years ago and centuries of coastline erosion have revealed a spectacular view of these curiously large spherical boulders. We much prefer the Maori legend to the geologist’s view!