Te Whare Pukenga Award

1. Purpose

The Whare Pukenga consists of our living taonga who have made an outstanding contribution to impact nationally the revitalisation our taonga and enhanced the values that protect Te Ao Maori.  It is an honour that is given by our Iwi through the National Iwi Chairs Forum. It recognises rangatiratanga enhancing the lives of all whanau in Aotearoa.

The award comprises admission to the Whare Pukenga, a written citation and a taonga.

There will be three vetting points ie Iwi, a selection panel and the Forum. The successful candidate will need approval from all of these vetting points.


2. The Values that Drive this Kaupapa are:

  • Kotahitanga – Vision
  • Rangatiratanga/Mana Motuhake
  • Whanaungatanga
  • Manaakitanga
  • Kaitiakitanga
  • Tikanga


3. Criteria:

Entrants into Te Whare Pukenga will have demonstrated that:

  • Their actions have contributed significantly to the revitalisation of our values and/or our taonga.
  • Have shown leadership
  • They have instigated change that has had universal impact for whanau, hapu, marae and iwi; and
  • The change they have instigated may show benefit for the whole country


4. Process

4.1  Nomination

Any individual or group can nominate a candidate. Once identified, the nominee will make a statement about what the candidate has done, how it has contributed to the revitalisation on our taonga and the impact it has had on whanau, hapu, iwi and Maori. The statement will also include what the candidate has done to demonstrate leadership. This statement is important because it is the basis of the citation should the nomination be successful.

Once the statement is completed, the individual or group will present the nomination to the candidate’s Iwi. The Iwi may invite the nominee to speak to the nomination. Nominations may be made to more than one Iwi to which the candidate belongs. The Iwi will make a decision to endorse the nomination or turn it down. This is the first vetting stage. If the nomination is endorsed, future stages are the responsibility of the Iwi. Iwi may wish to add to or change the statement that accompanies the nomination


4.2 Selection 

The Iwi will progress the nomination to a selection panel. The selection panel will determine if the nomination meets the standards of the criteria. The panel will invite the Iwi to speak to the nomination and then will make a decision against the criteria. Written notes will be kept that will help explain the decision. The selection panel will notify the Iwi of its decision. They will not be required to give reasons for their decision. This process will be confidential. This is the second vetting stage. The selection panel will inform the iwi of its decision who will then take the nomination to the next National Iwi Chairs Forum.


4.3 Award

The Iwi will present the nomination to the Forum for decision by resolution. (Iwi name) recommends that (candidates name) be appointed to Te Whare Pukenga.  The citation will be available to the members of the Forum and the Iwi may speak to the nomination. Once that is completed, any Iwi (through their Chair) may make a comment or ask a question. This is an open process.

Once discussion has been completed, the resolution will be put and decided. If there is any objection, Iwi will be polled by a roll call. The appointment is made if 80% of those polled agree.


4.4 Presentation 

The award will be presented at the next Forum. This does not prevent the iwi to have its own presentation. The citation will be framed and two un-framed copies will also be done; one for the recipient and one for the iwi. We have also designed a taonga which will also be presented.

The citation will be in both Te Reo and English. The nominating iwi is asked to be responsible for the reo version to ensure the Rangatiratanga of your reo.


5. Kaitiaki

The Forum has appointed a Kaitiaki Roopu to help implement Te Whare Pukenga. Their role is to assist with the process and ensure the standards are protected. The members of the Kaitiaki Roopu until the end on 2022 are Margaret Mutu, Lisa Tumahai, Mike Smith and Te Huia Bill Hamilton


6. Selection Panel

The aim is to have a selection panel comprising members of Te Whare Pukenga. Until there are enough members, the current selection panel is Kahurangi Iritana Tawhiwhirangi, Ta Tipene O’Regan, Professor Margaret Mutu, Lisa Tumahai and Mike Smith.


7. Whare Pukenga Logo

The logo was designed by Ngaraiti Tangaroa Smith.


The design of the tohu comes from the whakaaro that it’s recipient’s are not only exemplary custodians of our forefathers matauranga tuku iho, but that they have retained their cultural sanctity whilst successfully navigating as way finders for our people in their chosen vocations and practice.
It acknowledges those who have passed unto the veil and the intergenerational blessings and legacies that they left behind for us to inherit and foster.
It acknowledges the geographical beauty, bounty and landscape of our whenua, forestry and waterways.
Symbolically, the two stylized manaia/hei matau facing each other are a representation of the thousands of hui, wānanga and face to face discussions around a cup of tea table the recipient’s had to perservere through to ensure that the best intentional outcome is the one where our people are thriving!

I was initiated into the traditional practice of Whakairo ten years ago at the age of 17 through the instruction of my now long time friend and mentor Korotangi Kapa-Kingi (Waikato-Tainui, Ngai Tai, Te Whanau-a-Apanui) Further tutelage was privately sought and found under the korowai of the Hihiaua Cultural Centre and its Tohunga Whakairo; Matua Te Warihi Hetaraka, where I am an active practitioner to this day.

To me Whakairo and it’s hāpori, lifestyle and it’s guiding principles have become the load-bearing pillars that I have dedicated my life to and I wholeheartedly believe that if our Reo and our Tikānga are the lens in which the ethereal becomes visible, the Whakairo; and therefore by extension toi māori, is the vessel and the conduit in which it becomes tangible to the human hands and felt by the human heart.

Ko te whakairo he whakapapa
Ko te whakapapa he tauira mapuna
Ko te ahurea Māori he oranga māku.

Ko wai au

Ngāraiti Tangaroa Smith
Ngāti Kuia – Te Tau ihu o te Waka a Maui
Ngāti Mahuta – Waikato Tainui ki Kawhia
Te Hikutu – Ngāpuhi ki te Hokianga
Ngāti Maru, Ngāti Paoa – Parehauraki
Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Wahiao – Te Arawa


Te Whare Pukenga recipients:

Moana Jackson – August 2021

To find out more about Moana Jackson in relation to the Te Whare Pukenga Award, please click here.