Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua has a sacred obligation to assist the creative expression of a strong vibrant and distinctive Ngāti Whātua identity using the distinct art and stories of Ngati Whātua
Toi Arts and Creativity Strategy
The arts have always provided a variety of ways to express identity and reflect and interpret the environment around people. Important information can be embellished, issues can be brought to the fore and beauty can be appreciated. Our Toi Arts and Creativity Strategy looks to begin a process of fostering creative talent and raising the status of the unique arts of Ngāti Whātua.
Kawariki the Original Tohu of Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua
The tohu that had been produced for use by Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua is the Kawariki, a swamp plant or swamp buttercup, (Ranunculus macropus). The Kawariki was chosen as a tohu because it has a very positive message that relates to the whole of Ngāti Whātua.
The background to “Kawariki” is that it appears in an ancient pepeha from Kaipara – Me tupu i a wiwi i a wawa, turia i te wera, piri ki te rito o te rengarenga, waiho me whakapakari ki te hua o te kawariki.
This was a response to a wero during an attack on a pā in the Kaipara – If defeated we will move here and there in small numbers, we will stand erect in the heat of the day, we will spread out like the roots of the rengarenga plant and we will grow forth again like the flowers of the kawariki.
This implies that they would never be beaten and that even if small in number they would blossom forth again like the flower of the kawariki.
The essential elements of the tohu design are therefore a stylised drawing of the kawariki and the wording “Ngāti Whātua” and “Whakapakari – Grow forth”.