Story: Te Ao Mārama – the natural world

Whare whakairo – symbol of the world

Whare whakairo – symbol of the world

In one tradition, the wharenui (meeting house) is seen as a metaphor for the world. On the outside of the house is Te Pō, or darkness. On the inside is Te Ao Mārama – the world of light. The floor represents Papatūānuku (the earth mother). It is connected by the posts of the house to the ridgepole. This symbolises the connection between her and Ranginui (the sky father).

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Source: Tane-nui-a-Rangi. Auckland: University of Auckland, 1988

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How to cite this page:

Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal, 'Te Ao Mārama – the natural world - The traditional Māori world view', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/diagram/7948/whare-whakairo-symbol-of-the-world (accessed 24 August 2019)

Story by Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal, published 24 Sep 2007