Te Ao Māori and Americas Cup

As Aotearoa moves further into the 21st Century the partnership principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi continue to shape our pathway forward. Both treaty partners draw on the strengths of the other to make Aotearoa a stronger, happier more diverse country.

The America’s Cup is a wonderful example of this ideal.  We can all agree Te Rehutai was a technical marvel and a truly inspiring tribute to our nation’s expertise and willingness to innovate.

Inspiration is a rare and wonderful thing and can come from many places. We draw strength from it and it lights the path to success. The inspiration derived from Te Ao Māori by our America’s Cup Team cannot be underestimated and it had many aspects.


Eke Panuku Eke Tangaroa

“Eke PanukuEke Tangaroa! This is a whakataukī (proverb) which acknowledges the unseen energies of the land and sea. In Te Ao Māori it is an appeal to Tangaroa (Atua of the sea) to inspire success, excellence, and progress. Team New Zealand have been a wonderful example of achieving the ethos of this whakatauki.

Aotearoa is recognised as a nation of great sailors. This has been the case since the first Polynesian ancestors set sail on voyaging waka using celestial navigation to guide them to our shores.

Much later there was a celebrated incident when Endeavour was travelling in the South Pacific and came upon some Polynesian waka travelling the same route. Cook (through his translator Tupaia) asked if they might travel together and the Polynesian sailors agreed – only to find that their twin hulled waka were significantly faster than the big British bark. After sailing in circles around Endeavour for a few days the Polynesians departed with a farewell that included “we’ll see you when you get there”. Sailing fast is in our blood.

Eke Panuku poster 


Te Rehutai

Ōrākei Ngāti Whatua named and blessed Te Rehutai. The name means spirit of the sea. That spirit comes from Tangaroa – the atua of the sea. It is shaped and influenced by Tāwhirimātea – the atua of wind. The name “Te Rehutai” is an inspiration in itself. It captures the beauty and power of Māori spirituality. The sparkling waters of the Hauraki Gulf are in the house of Tangaroa and Tāwhirimātea.

The team New Zealand sailors cannot have helped but to be inspired by the beauty of their surroundings.  The islands of the gulf were a constant backdrop to the racing. These islands are steeped in legend and history.

Hauraki Gulf- Tīkapa Moana

Te Tīkapa Moana / Te Moananui-ā-Toi / Hauraki Gulf is a special place.

“It is a taonga of national importance—for both people and nature. She is the ‘jewel—the sparkling blue sapphire—in Auckland’s crown’. If she is well, the people are well.”

Rangitoto Island’s full name is Te Rangi-i-totongia-ai-te-ihu-o-Tamatekapua (the day that Tamatekapua had a bloody nose). It was named after a fight between Tamatekapua, captain of the Te Arawa voyaging canoe, and the Tainui canoe captain, Hoturoa.

The recent battle between Te Rehutai and Luna Rossa was just the last of many to occur in that special place!

Waiheke, in Māori, means cascading or ebbing water. However, the original Māori name for Waiheke was Te Motuarai-roa, “the long sheltering island” but at the time the first European visitors arrived it was known as MotuWai-Heke, “island of trickling waters”. For Māori the island has a long history of peaceful existence, bloody conquerors and tales of love and loss. It could easily be the subject of entire lesson to children of all ages by itself.

The full name of Motuihe is Te Motu a Īhenga. Īhenga was the grandson of Tamatekapua, the commander of Te Arawa waka that conquered the island in the 14th century. Since then the island has had a hugely varied history, reflecting the comings and goings of both Pākehā and Māori.

Collaborative  Resource

In conclusion, the success of the America’s Cup event has inspired great pride in all the peoples of Aotearoa. The Te Reo Māori classroom and Te Reo Club celebrate this pride and aim to highlight the contribution of Māori to the event.

The Te Reo Māori Classroom has produced this collaborative to assist teachers to have topical discussions about the America’s Cup including the geography and whakapapa of the Hauraki Gulf. It is also an example of having a Māori perspective to a topic (there are many other aspects, the pōwhiri, karanga,

“He aha te hau“)

It also encompasses te reo and can be used in conjunction with other resources available on the site.


If you would like to purchase the collaborative it is available for sale here:

If you are a member of Te Reo Club it is available here:

In conclusion, is a continuation of the theme of “inspiration” in this blog. We aim to inspire our kaiako to have engaging and topical kōrero that reflect our pathway as a nation that embraces the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Colouring Page Freebie

Here is a  FREEBIE one page version of the collaborative for your learners to colour in and kōrero,

If you are a member of Te Reo Club it is available here with a Poster.

Sign up below for your copy. Eke panuku eke tangaroa!