New building opened at Te Wānanga o Raukawa

Te Wānanga

A few years ago, a building to house the various activities of the Te Wānanga o Raukawa (the Māori University of Ōtaki) burnt down while it was undergoing renovation.

Recently a new building was opened to replace it. It contains a meeting place for students, a special hall embracing carvings representing all the local tribal groups, a library and various offices.

It is called Te Ara a Tāwhaki. Tāwhaki was one of the mythical heroes of Māoridom. He made his way to the heavens where he succeeded in obtaining Ngā Kete o te Wānanga (The Three Baskets of Learning).

The whakatuwheratanga (official opening) began with karakia (prayers) at 5:30 am.

Then people entered the building and speeches followed explaining the purpose of the building.

After a breakfast, there were more speeches explaining the building’s meaning and significance, its name and the carvings in it.

Then people were invited to look around themselves and put their blessing on it.

‘Ngā Kete o te Wānangakete that Tāwhaki brought are represented in the weaving pattern on the outside of the building.

There are three kete (baskets). In one understanding they are: Te Kete Aronui, learning about the natural world we see around us; Te Kete Tuauri, learning about the world beyond our sight – the wider universe, and Te Kete Tuaatea, learning about the spiritual world beyond space and time.

The interior design is made up of the arches of a whare (house) which welcomes all people to enter and explore the paths of learning.

It is a reminder to all that it is not a question of obtaining a lot of knowledge to succeed, but of being able to keep learning wisdom that is more important.

The elders who presided at the opening included Matiu Rei (Purutanga Mauri or Spiritual Governor), Pita Richardson (Spiritual Governor), Whatarangi Winiata (Spiritual Governor), Robin Hapi (Amokapua or Chair) and Mereana Selby (Tumuaki or Principal).

E te whare, ko Te Ara a Tāwhaki, e tū, e tū, e tū. Te Ara a Tāwhaki, stand tall as a symbol of learning.


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News category: New Zealand.

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