Kevin Blackston
PO Box 217
Floresville TX 78114-0217
United States of America

Aoraki/Mount Cook

South Island, New Zealand

Rising to 12,316 feet, Aoraki/Mount Cook is New Zealand’s tallest mountain, but it’s not as tall today as it once was.1 An avalanche in 1991 reduced the mountain’s summit by more than 30 feet to its current height.2

Aoraki/Mount Cook is part of the Southern Alps on New Zealand’s South Island.3 According to Māori legend, a boy named Aoraki and his brothers long ago struck a reef with their canoe; Aoraki turned into the mountain that bears his name, and his brothers became other nearby peaks.4 The second part of the mountain’s name honors Captain James Cook, the English explorer.5

A group of New Zealanders first climbed to the top of Aoraki/Mount Cook in 1894. Their ascent was a cold and treacherous one since much of the mountain is covered by glaciers, the largest of which is Tasman Glacier.6

5-cent New Zealand postage stamp picturing Aoraki/Mount Cook on the South Island
Aoraki/Mount Cook



  1. Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park. Department of Conservation. Accessed 12 Feb. 2012.
  2. Mount Aoraki (Mount Cook) rock avalanche. Tai Awatea. Accessed 12 Feb. 2012.
  3. Wilson, John. Mountaineering - Aoraki/Mt Cook. Te Ara—The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. 3 Mar. 2010. Accessed 12 Feb. 2012.
  4. Aoraki/Mt Cook - History. New Zealand Tourism Guide. Accessed 12 Feb. 2012.
  5. Hegele, Christina. Exploring Aoraki Mount Cook. Jandal Road. 22 Sep. 2011. Accessed 12 Feb. 2012.
  6. Aoraki/Mount Cook. Peakware World Mountain Encyclopedia. Accessed 12 Feb. 2012.

Published 2018-06-17