Tangaroa “Tangaroa” by Wiremu Barriball ©


Tumanako Aerial View
Tumanako Aerial View

While the web site is under reconstruction in 2013, pressing the "Home" button, or clicking on the Tui in the header to these pages will take you to the temporary home page, where you entered this site. Click HERE to return to the "real" home page.

Origins and Development

This set of pages has information about how Te Māra Reo began, who was involved then, and also what we know about the history of the plant names that were brought to Aotearoa by its Polynesian discoverers and first settlers. The ancient history of the names is also the ancient history of the people who inherited them, and thought them important enough to remember for hundreds and (for a fair proportion) thousands of years. The names also reflect the drama and adventures of those passed them on through many generations.

Some of the names also reflect great stories, such as the account of Tāwhirimātea's quarrel with his brother Tangaroa after the separation of their parents, Rangi and Papa. One of Tangaroa's children, Te Hāpuku, was among those forced to flee from Tāwhirimātea's wrath, taking the form of a grouper; some of his own children, who became the scaly fish and hairy seals, fled to the sea, and others, like the tree ferns -- the scaly ponga and mamaku, and the hairy wheki -- took refuge on the land, where they became "the fish of the forest". In Hawai'i, hāpu'u is the name both of the fish and a genus of tree ferns. (You can read more about this on the page discussing the origin of these words and their links with ferns.)

The pages associated with this one are:

The birth of the idea for a "language garden"

Who were involved at the beginning

The philosophy behind the garden (the meaning of 德馨)

Where the names came from and how they got to Aotearoa

What has been done since the project progressed from being an idea to an observable reality is chronicled on the page for "Ngā Rongo o te Wā".


PHOTOGRAPHS: On the side panel above, the god of the sea, Tangaroa, is represented by the painting Tangaroa by Wiremu Barriball ©, from the "Red Bubble" web site (used with permission). The image of the hapuku (grouper) is from the Blue Ocean web site. The photographs of the hapu'u (Cibotium sp.) and wheki-ponga (Dicksonia fibrosa) fronds were taken by R.B.

Te Mära Reo, c/o Benton Family Trust, "Tumanako", RD 1, Taupiri, Waikato 3791, Aotearoa / New Zealand. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License