Heru Hāpai Tohu
The ‘Heru” Tohu and Brand
The phrases ‘Ngāti Whātua Heru Hapai’ and ‘Heru Hapāinga’ are ancient terms unique to Ngāti Whātua history and reflect a recognized style of leadership particular to Ngāti Whātua.
"As a brand, the Heru symbolizes the uplifted symbol of Ngāti Whātua tribal authority and esteem or mana".
It was the practice of Ngāti Whātua leaders to be at the forefront of travelling parties. Travelling around the vast tribal lands was a common and necessary occurance due to the obligations of Ahi kaa, and the leaders of these Ngāti Whātua parties could be easily recognised by the heru adorning the top knot of their hair.
Today this tohu illuminates the ‘figurehead’ and leadership qualities for Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua. As a brand, the Heru symbolizes the uplifted symbol of Ngāti Whātua tribal authority and esteem or mana- something uniquely Ngāti Whātua to draw pride from and aspire to.
The ‘heru’ itself symbolizes the significance derived from our unique heritage; the importance of our unique environments (whalebone); and the collective cultural pride and aspirations of our people. The associated term ‘Heru Hapāinga’ reflects the work and efforts needed to hold the heru aloft. Hei Heru Hapāinga.
The adoption of the ‘mata’ in the current Rūnanga tohu symbolises the forward vision of the overall kaupapa, and also the clarity of vision required to advance the improvement of life for Ngāti Whātua people through the revitalisation of culture and cultural identity.
Ngāti Whātua Heru Hapāi Kaupapa
The Ngāti Whātua Heru Hapāi kaupapa was formally launched in 2003 because of the concern by Ngāti Whātua leaders about the poor state of Ngāti Whātua cultural identity. This kaupapa is ongoing and from time to time, when the opportunity arises, short term targeted campaigns will be planned to add impetus to specific aspects of the overall Ngāti Whātua Heru Hapāi kaupapa.