Story: Papatūānuku – the land

Joseph Filemu, Pukerua Bay

Joseph Filemu, Pukerua Bay

Six-year-old Joseph Filemu stands by the cabbage tree under which his placenta is buried, at his home in Pukerua Bay. Joseph has tribal links to Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāpuhi and Rangitāne. When he was born, his placenta was buried at the base of the tree. This practice goes back centuries among Māori, and ties people to the land. The word whenua means both placenta and land.

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How to cite this page:

Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal, 'Papatūānuku – the land - Whenua – the placenta', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 21 June 2024)

Story by Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal, published 24 Sep 2007