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Our Environment: Issue 24 Spring 2000

Our Environment: Christchurch City Council's Environmental Newsletter

Ti Kouka Whenua – A Symbol Of Our City And A New Web Site

Ti Kouka Whenua - A Symbol Of Our CityA new web site is helping internet users discover the Maori cultural heritage of Christchurch and Canterbury.

Ti Kouka Whenua provides information and photographs relating to 50 significant local sites. The information can be accessed through an interactive map or through an alphabetical list. It is an educational tool that fills a gap in local Maori history resources. Only basic computer knowledge is required to explore the site, which will continue to expand.

Significance of the name of the web site Ti kouka (cabbage trees) were prized by the Maori of Te Wai Pounamu. Important as navigational markers, the trees produced strong fibre favoured for fishing. Their kouru or new shoots were an important source of protein in an area where kumara was difficult, if not impossible, to grow. Whenua (land) is a highly valued resource for Maori; it represents the heart of Maori culture, steeped in stories that record the histories of the Mana Whenua of Aotearoa. The growth pattern of the ti kouka mirrors the concept of whakapapa and the connectedness of tribal and local history. Our ancestors are closer to us than we may think. The land around us is imbued with their histories. While we cannot go back, we can learn from those who were here before us. Our present is formed out of our past. In turn, our future is born of our present.

Whaia te Matauranga - seek the knowledge.

Haneta Pierce
Maori Resources and Services Librarian,
Christchurch City Libraries

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