Mount Taranaki is beautiful!!! I came across this wonderful ancient story by Sorrel Hoskin:

In the past many magnificent mountain gods lived near the heart of the North Island Te Ika a Māui (the fish of Māui): Ruapehu, Tongariro, Ngāruahoe, Taranaki, Tauhara… and the only female -
little Pihanga.

Pihanga was a gracefully contoured mountain with bush robed flanks and a delicate nature. All the mountains wanted Pihanga for their own – but particularly Tongariro and Taranaki.

The earth shook as the two fought. Lightening crashed, thunder rolled, ash and molten lava spumed from the mountains. In the fighting Tongariro lost his head, some say he deliberately broke it off to fling it at Taranaki, others say Taranaki sliced it off with a powerful blow. The top flew off and fell into the centre of Lake Taupo where it can be seen today as Moututaiko Island.

But Tongariro was the stronger of the two mountains. He defeated Taranaki, whose peak shuddered and sides convulsed. Tongariro gave a final departing kick to Taranaki’s flanks and the defeated mountain dived underground. Toka – a – Rauhotu, a small stone of great mana, acted as a guide stone, leading him to the coast. In his flight he carved the Wanganui River, forming the Ngāere swamp when he stopped to rest.

At the water’s edge Toka – a – Rauhotu lead Taranaki beneath the sea and north-west up the coast. He surfaced briefly and glimpsed Pouākai, a beautiful range. He settled beside her, and the guide stone rested on his seaward side.

Taranaki and Pouākai had many children, wind and rain, plants and people, rocks and rivers.

In the Central North Island Tongariro stands protectively over the little mountain Pihanga, wrapping her in soft clouds of love as she lies nestled by the town of Turangi on the shores of Lake Taupo.

Have a look at the pics, there is actually a little heart stone that I found in the river!