Te Raukura – the wharewaka (canoe house) on Wellington’s Waterfront is both an elegant home for the city’s two waka (canoes) and the fulfilment of a vision to return a Māori presence to Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington Harbour).The vision belonged to Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika, a collective of people from Taranaki, whose ancestors migrated to Wellington in the 1820’s and 1830’s. The name of the wharewaka, Te Raukura, symbolises the peaceful resistance of their tupuna at Parihaka in the 1880’s and the white feather (Te Raukura) is still worn by the descendants today. Taranaki Whānui includes whānau (family) and hapū (sub-tribes) from Te Atiawa, Taranaki, Ngāti Tama, Ngāti Ruanui and Ngāti Mutunga iwi. The wharewaka design is based on a korowai (cloak), which signifies mana and prestige. The korowai roofline recalls the traditional sails of the waka fleet, and the louvred metal panels symbolise a cloak draped over the sides of the building. The wharewaka opened in 2011 and was built in partnership with Wellington City Council, acknowledging the past and marking the city’s future commitment to Taranaki Whānui.
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