Tūranga – Our Māori name

Ngāi Tūāhuriri's Matapopore Trust was a key partner in the development of our new central library since the beginning of the project. Cultural values, aspirations and narratives are woven throughout Tūranga's entire experience.

Learn the correct pronunciation of the name Tūranga by listening to the MP3 sound file.

Tūranga, Paikea and Ngāi Tahu

Tūranga is a name that carries with it considerable responsibility. Tūranga speaks of whakapapa across generations, connections to the north and out to Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa and the wider Pacific. 

Tūranga is the name of a settlement located on the East Coast of the North Island.  It is the homeland of the Ngāi Tahu ancestor, Paikea, who made his way there on the back of a whale from the ancient homeland of Hawaiki. Paikea had two sons, Whatiua Te Ramarama and Tahu Pōtiki. Whatiua Te Ramarama and his wife Hemo had three children. The eldest child Porouraki, is the founding ancestor of East Coast iwi Ngāti Porou.

Whatiua Te Ramarama died and so Tahu Pōtiki, the brother took Hemo as his wife. They also had three children. Ngāi Tahu descend from the union of Tahu Pōtiki and Hemo.

Ngāi Tahu's relationship to the people of Ngāti Porou and Tūranga is found in the saying, 'Tokotoru a te tuakana, tokotoru a te taina, ko ngā tokoono ēnei a Hemo i noho ai i Tūranga', meaning 'Hemo the mother of Ngāti Porou and Ngāi Tahu - all who came from Tūranga'.

This name also has significance due to the building’s location at the north-east corner of Cathedral Square.

The name given to the Square is Whiti-reia, and as the narrative written by Dr Te Maire Tau discusses, Whiti-reia is the name of the land on which St Stephen’s Church at Tuahiwi sits; it was also the name given to the Vicarage and to a garden and spring nearby at Tuahiwi. The name of Paikea’s whare (house) was also Whiti-reia.

Inside Tūranga – Looking to the heavens

Staircase and skylight, Tūranga
Staircase and skylight, Tūranga, File reference: New-Central-2018-09-18-123, Photo by Pam Carmichael Photography.

Mana whenua language preferences have been included throughout the building in bilingual wayfinding signage and in the naming of key spaces.

‘Tautoru’ (Orion's Belt - the name of TSB Space, Hapori |Community, Level 1) and ‘Takurua’ (Sirius - the name of the Boardroom, Tūhuratanga | Discovery, Level 3 ) recall constellations important for navigation and migration to these shores.

‘Ngā Purapura’ (the name of the Activity Room on the same floor as Family Space, Hapori | Community, Level 1) are ‘star seeds’ to watch over and inspire our young tamariki.

The atrium stairway ‘Ngā Iho o Te Rangi’ references ‘rays of light’, and ‘Puaka’, the atrium skylights, are named for Rigel, a star of particular importance to Ngāi Tahu traditions.

These names act as a reminder of ancestral connections to the heavens above.

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