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Māori Sense of Place

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Tūrangawaewae means 'a place to stand'. This is the place where a person feels strong and at home.


Tūrangawaewae is an important Māori idea.

  • tūranga (standing place)
  • waewae (feet)

It is often translated as ‘a place to stand’.

Tūrangawaewae are places where we feel strong and connected. A person’s marae is often seen as their Tūrangawaewae.

Pepeha – tribal sayings

Tūrangawaewae can include other places as well. Many tribes are connected to mountains, waterways and important ancestors. When people from Taranaki identify themselves, they say:

Ko Taranaki te maunga
Ko Hangataahua te awa
Ko Taranaki te iwi.

Taranaki is the mountain
Hangataahua is the river
Taranaki is the tribe.

(Source: Te Ara the Encyclopedia of New Zealand)

Audio Māori keywords: 

Same or different? Find out how other cultures are the same or different with how they describe their 'place to stand'.

Cultural Mapping

Discovering Our Shared Heritage


A person’s marae is often seen as their Tūrangawaewae. Image: LEARNZ.

Mountains will often be part of one's pepeha. Image: LEARNZ.

Waterways are another natural feature which many tribes identify with. Image: LEARNZ.

Taranaki Maunga and surrounding areas were once occupied by the original Te Kāhui Maunga residents. Here they built villages, pā, and cultivated and harvested various food sources such as kūmara and mamaku (black tree fern). Image: LEARNZ.