Poutama and Tāne-te-wānanga.A Bridge to Knowledge for Building Better Homes, Towns, and Cities National Science Challenge

Night sky Tikitiki-ō-Rangi Tāne Animals

Origins of Tāne-te-wānanga

Tāne, a revered figure in Māori lore, holds a significant place in the natural heritage of Aotearoa, New Zealand. Born of Ranginui and Papatūānuku, Tāne is commonly recognised as the god of forests and birds.

In Te Ao Māori, a divine decision was made that someone should ascend to the uppermost realm called Tikitiki-ō-Rangi. This quest involved obtaining Ngā kete o te Wānanga (the three precious baskets of knowledge) and the two Whatukura (sacred stones of knowledge) for the benefit of both divine siblings and humanity. For this significant task, Tāne was the chosen one.

Initially hesitant due to turbulent winds and disturbances, Tāne waited until summer to embark on the journey. Seeking aid from the God of winds, Tāwhirimātea, Tāne set off alongside various companions, seeking guidance from the winds of diverse realms during his voyage.

On the ascent, Tāne encountered opposition orchestrated by an elder brother named Whiro-te-tīpua, who sought to impede his mission. Thankfully, the offspring of Tāwhirimātea (God of the winds) safeguarded him, preventing any harm. Having reached the entrance to Tikitiki-ō-Rangi, Tāne encountered spiritual beings guarding the realm. After engaging in many rituals, he presented himself before Io Matua Kore, who questioned the purpose of his visit. Tāne conveyed his mission to acquire Ngā kete o te Wānanga (three precious baskets of knowledge) and the two Whatukura (sacred stones of knowledge).

Once Io Matua Kore allowed Tāne to proceed, Tāne was taken to Rauroha, where he would need to complete numerous rituals and ceremonies.

Night sky Yellow basket Pink basket Teal basket

Following these sacred ceremonies and receiving these multiple names such as Tane-nui-ā-rangi, Tane-te-Wānanga, Tane-mātua, Tane-te-Waiora, Tane-Torokaha, Tane-Uetika, Tane-te-Whāwhanga, and Tane-Tahurangi, Tāne ventured to Rangiātea, the repository of knowledge.

There, he successfully secured Ngā Kete o te Wānanga and the two Whatukura.

The three kete he received were:

  • Te Kete Aronui: which contained all the wānanga (knowledge) that could help mankind.
  • Te Kete Tuauri: which held the knowledge of karakia, ritenga and maumaharatanga (prayer, rituals and memory)
  • Te Kete Tuatea: which held all the wānanga (knowledge) of Mākutu, evil and things that would be harmful to mankind.

The whatukura (sacred stones of knowledge) held the power of knowledge and influenced the mana of teaching knowledge.

On the descent back to the earthly realm, Tāne, accompanied by the winds of Tāwhirimātea, effectively thwarted the forces of Whiro-te-tīpua once again. Tāne also brought captured beings, including the Pekapeka (Bat), the Rūrū (Owl), and others, to inhabit the whenua.

Having achieved his mission, Tāne returned to Papatūānuku and participated in a significant ritual, preserving the sacred traditions of Te Whare Wānanga, the house of learning, which has been passed down through generations. Tāne's journey symbolises the paramount importance of acquiring knowledge and the deep reverence for learning in Māori culture.

Ngā taonga o Tāne-te-WānangaThe gifts of Tane-te-Wānanga

Tāne-te-Wānanga's quest for knowledge holds profound significance in understanding the world and environment from Te Ao Māori (Māori Worldview).

As the atua (Deity) of all that resides in the ngahere (forests and birds), Tāne's wisdom is intricately tied to our relationship with nature. His pursuit of mātauranga inspires us to embrace sustainability, respect for ecosystems, and harmony with the land and its people.

The Poutama design is deeply rooted in ngā akoranga Māori. Poutama symbolises the journey of learning and achievement. As the steps to the twelfth realm, Te Toi-o-ngā-rangi, Poutama embodies the essence of progress and understanding. This sacred journey was undertaken by Tāne-te-wānanga, the revered deity of knowledge and the forest, in his mission to seek supreme mātauranga from Io-Matua-Kore, the source of all creation.

The Poutama and Tāne-te-wānanga kōrero strategically aligns with the research objectives of the National Science Challenge, Building Better Homes, Towns, and Cities (BBHTC). The inclusion of Māori cultural symbols like Poutama acknowledges the importance of Mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge and wisdom) within BBHTC’s research investment aspirations.

Te Tiriti o Waitangi and Treaty Partnership

Treaty of Waitangi

The National Science Challenge Building Better Homes, Towns, and Cities has grown its capacity to deliver Te Tiriti o Waitangi (Treaty of Waitangi) Co-governance and Co-leadership.

As a Treaty Partnership-based research organisation, BBHTC places a strong emphasis on creating honourable partnerships with whānau, hapū, iwi Māori, within the urban and rural context.

By continuously weaving and growing honourable partnerships, BBHTC ensures that the essence of Te Tiriti o Waitangi permeates in every aspect of its mahi (work). This approach demonstrates a genuine commitment to upholding the four articles of  Te Tīriti o Waitangi (Treaty of Waitangi,1840). The Challenge acknowledges the unique role and significance that Mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) has in the shaping of research that can inform New Zealand policy decisions within the housing, towns, and cities design and planning sector.

Treaty of Waitangi. (1840). Treaty document number, 8 UST 5, TIAS 542.

Retrieved from https://nzhistory.govt.nz/politics/treaty/making-the-treaty/signing-the-treaty

Relevance to Poutama and Tāne-o-te-wānanga

With the mauri (essence) of Te Tiriti o Waitangi at its core, BBHTC actively encourages and promotes Mātauranga Māori throughout its research endeavours.

By incorporating Māori knowledge systems, cultural practices, and pūrakau, the Challenge strives to support the cultivation of thriving, culturally diverse communities in Aotearoa.

The Poutama design holds powerful symbolism in conveying the foundation of a proactive treaty partnership and research structure within the Building Better Homes, Towns, and Cities (BBHTC) National Science Challenge. BBHTC is committed to embracing the articles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and fostering meaningful partnerships with Māori communities. The Poutama design is a guiding metaphor for our Challenge, exemplifying the dedication and commitment to a collaborative, inclusive, and culturally responsive approach to research and development.

Building Better Homes, Towns, and Cities National Science Challenge Guiding Principles

Sustainability and Environment

Embracing the taonga of wisdom and knowledge obtained by Tane, we seek to understand the ecological balance and design sustainable living spaces. Integrating traditional knowledge with scientific advancements, we strive to provide research that will support the building of environmentally conscious homes, towns, and cities that honour our natural surroundings.

Cultural Appreciation and Collaboration

By acknowledging the significance of Poutama and its connection to Tāne-te-wānanga, we embrace the values of cultural appreciation and collaboration. We work in partnership with Māori communities, respecting their knowledge, aspirations, and history, to create inclusive and culturally rich urban and rural towns and cities.

Innovation and Learning

The journey of Poutama and Tāne-te-Wānanga symbolises the continuous pursuit of knowledge. In our research, we prioritise innovation, cutting-edge technologies, and a commitment to lifelong learning. Just as Tāne sought wisdom from the divine, we explore new frontiers to improve and transform our homes, towns, and cities.

Social Well-being and Equity

Upholding the principles of Te Tiriti, we recognize the importance of fostering social well-being and equity in our urban planning. Building homes and cities that nurture strong communities, enhance quality of life, and ensure equitable access to resources are fundamental to our research objectives..

Embracing a Sustainable Future

Join us as we embrace the rich heritage of Poutama and Tāne-te-wānanga, forging a path to sustainable homes, towns, and cities. By honouring tradition and combining it with contemporary research, we envision a future where culture, environment, and innovation unite to create thriving and resilient communities. With the essence of Te Tiriti o Waitangi at our core, we actively encourage and promote Mātauranga Māori throughout our research endeavours. By incorporating indigenous perspectives and embracing cultural diversity, we strive to support the cultivation of inclusive and prosperous communities in Aotearoa, New Zealand.