He Taumata Rau: University unveils new pou

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei and Waipapa Taumata Rau unveiled a new pou at the University’s City Campus, honouring past, present and future rangatira.

He Taumata Rau was unveiled during a dawn ceremony, attended by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, Vice Chancellor Dawn Freshwater, and the office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor Māori
He Taumata Rau was unveiled during a dawn ceremony, attended by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, Vice Chancellor Dawn Freshwater, and the office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor Māori

This month, Waipapa Taumata Rau, University of Auckland, welcomed the new poupou at our City Campus. Its name is He Taumata Rau.

It was carved and designed by a team led by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei master carver, Arekatera 'Katz' Maihi at Toitu Design Ltd.

He Taumata Rau honours the tūpuna from within the Tāmaki rohe and the mana whenua of central Tāmaki Makaurau. It also acknowledges the present and future Māori tauira and leaders from the University, with visual references of courage, discipline and determination.

The design of the pou has multiple references to tūpuna and the many great feats they were involved in, which leaves Waipapa Taumata Rau with a rich connection, history and whakapapa to the whenua.

“It is very appropriate that the name ‘He Taumata Rau’ was chosen as it speaks to the tūpuna of old and allows us to look at the people of this time, and place them amongst those great names and stories,” Maihi says.

“He Taumata Rau also speaks to the many mountain peaks within Tāmaki, reflecting the many challenges we face and also the many successes we achieve in our lives.”

Maihi builds on the kōrero of rangatira who have paved the way for Māori success, like Tā Hugh Kawharu, Merimeri Penfold, Paki Harrison – just to name a few, he says.

“They have contributed immensely to the University and leave great legacies and direction for the Māori tauira to follow.”

The use of the Ngāti Whātua whakairo styles and patterns acknowledges our iwi manaaki.

“The intricacies of this Ngāti Whātua visual also speaks to the landscapes surrounding the area in which this pou stands. The presence of the many water tributaries considers the natural environment, and the oral histories of the iwi – he taonga te wai hei oranga mā te iwi.”

He Taumata Rau was unveiled during a dawn ceremony, which was attended by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, Vice-Chancellor Dawn Freshwater and the office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor Māori.

Ko mātou, ko Waipapa Taumata Rau

The University’s special connection with the Tāmaki Makaurau region, and unique place in the world, is personified in its Māori name, Waipapa Taumata Rau, a name gifted to the University by mana whenua of central Tāmaki Makaurau and our iwi manaaki, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, in 2021.

The enduring relationship with tangata whenua is based on Te Tiriti o Waitangi, an essential part of our distinctiveness, and is a key component of Taumata Teitei, our Vision 2030 and Strategic Plan 2025.

Waipapa : This locates us in Auckland, the nearby shoreline from which the University takes its name. It is the great landing place of waka. It is an important destination marking arrival and beginning and reflects new connections between people, but also an exchange of knowledge and teaching.

Taumata: Taumata is an exhortation to excellence and achievement. It uncovers those attributes we need to succeed through hard work, aspiration and support. Taumata, in this case, are the many peaks or points of ascension – the pinnacles of sacred spaces where the land meets the sky, places of challenge, achievement and revelation.

Rau: Means many or one hundred. The University and its community are made up of many peaks and so there are many journeys.

Media contact

Te Rina Triponel | Kaitohutohu Pāpāho Māori
E: te.rina.triponel@auckland.ac.nz