Story: Kaumātua – Māori elders

Carving of Tawhaki

Carving of Tawhaki

This poupou (carved figure), Te Puna Wai Mātauranga (the wellspring of knowledge), stands outside the University of Waikato library in Hamilton. It represents Tāwhaki who, along with his brother Karihi, was guided by their blind kuia (grandmother), Whaitiri. In many traditions kaumātua were vital for guiding their mokopuna (grandchildren) as they undertook particular quests.

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Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Photograph by Shirley Williams

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How to cite this page:

Rawinia Higgins and Paul Meredith, 'Kaumātua – Māori elders - Kaumātua in early traditions', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/28359/carving-of-tawhaki (accessed 17 September 2019)

Story by Rawinia Higgins and Paul Meredith, published 5 May 2011