Every iwi has its own hītori, but for many across the motu it is Tāwhaki, son of Hema and Urutonga. He overcame supernatural challenges to collect the three baskets of knowledge:
Driven by the aroha for his whānau, Tāwhaki followed the advice of his grandmother Whaitiri and climbed to the heavens, holding tight to a central vine.
Through many adventures, he became the god of lightning and lord of a celestial realm — but he is recognised for his goodness, courage and perseverance for seeking the greatness of knowledge that instructs and benefits his uri today.
Using pūrākau of Tāwhaki as a touchstone, the names chosen for our health system have significance, vision and a connection woven into them.
Te Aka Whai Ora Māori Health Authority, ‘Te Aka’ refers to a central vine to hold onto. ‘Whai Ora’ is the pursuit of health and wellbeing.
Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand means ‘the weaving together of wellness’.
Like Tāwhaki, the aim of Te Aka Whai Ora and Te Whatu Ora is to improve and enrich the lives of whānau Māori, and to provide healthy futures for all in Aotearoa New Zealand.