The bodies of Aoraki and his brothers, all of them great chiefs in their own rights, were eventually changed into mountains forming the Southern Alps, with Aoraki the eldest brother being the highest.
The canoe became the South Island, and is known by Māori as Te Waka o Aoraki – The Canoe of Aoraki. Aoraki and his brothers thus became the first mountains in New Zealand.
For many years after the disastrous episode suffered by Aoraki and his siblings there was only a stark and rocky landscape devoid of life, fresh water and other features required to sustain habitation.
It was the deeds and actions of Aoraki’s relatives, whom later become the atua – demi gods of the tribal peoples of Waitaha, Rapuwai, Kāti Hawea, Kāti Mamoe and Kāi Tahu, which eventually transformed the landscape. Various forms of life were introduced so that the fate of these sacred relatives, the original crew would not be in vain, the land no longer barren and uninhabitable to human beings.