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