Story: Kaumātua – Māori elders

Carving of Tawhaki

Carving of Tawhaki

This poupou (carved figure), Te Puna Wai Mātauranga (the wellspring of knowledge), stands outside the University of Waikato library in Hamilton. It represents Tāwhaki who, along with his brother Karihi, was guided by their blind kuia (grandmother), Whaitiri. In many traditions kaumātua were vital for guiding their mokopuna (grandchildren) as they undertook particular quests.

Using this item

Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Photograph by Shirley Williams

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Rawinia Higgins and Paul Meredith, 'Kaumātua – Māori elders - Kaumātua in early traditions', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 29 June 2022)

Story by Rawinia Higgins and Paul Meredith, published 5 May 2011