The new name of the Kāpiti Performing Arts Centre was revealed as the sun rose above the horizon during a private blessing on Saturday morning.

Unveiling Te Raukura ki Kāpiti as the new name, Te Raukura, meaning feather, is a symbol of peaceful coexistence to the tribes who affiliate to the Taranaki Rohe, including Waikanae's Te Ati Awa and is linked to the peace and pride held by the people of Parihaka.

The blessing included a group of 50 people from Taranaki including a group of Parihaka kaumātua who came down to show their support in gifting the name Te Raukura ki Kāpiti to the community.

Gathering with the community, Te Raukura, meaning feather, is a name steeped in history and inspiration for performers for generations to come.

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The blessing ceremony for Te Raukura ki Kapiti. Photo / Karl Webber
The blessing ceremony for Te Raukura ki Kapiti. Photo / Karl Webber

The sense of community fostered at Parihaka many years ago has been taught to Kāpiti College students over the last few years and the school has now added the philosophy of Parihaka to their values, exemplified in the schools production last year.

Te Raukura is an important symbol of peaceful coexistence and is linked to Kāpiti by Te Ati Awa iwi whose whakapapa sought refuge down here from Taranaki.

As a plume of white feathers, Te Raukura represents spiritual, physical and communal harmony and unity despite hardship.

"It is a symbol of faith, hope, and compassion for all of mankind, a sentiment fitting of what the kura sees as a community asset," Kāpiti College teacher in charge of Te Reo Māori Paora Trim said.

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"Parihaka holds a heavy place in our history books but the values and lessons that arose from the time of Te Raukura are a source of great inspiration."

"The opening and gift of such a taonga is a great honour to the kura and an acknowledgement of our long association with Parihaka and Taranaki."

Te Raukura ki Kāpiti manager Sonia Hardie said she was delighted to be able to announce the new name.

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"The name has been gifted to us which is very special.

"The essence of Parihaka is about living in harmony in community, and it really rings true for what the centre wants to do," she said.

"The sense of community and peace that was fostered at Parihaka all those years ago feels very at home in our school," Kāpiti College principal Tony Kane said.

"We strongly believe in the harmony of this place, the community built it together and it belongs to us all."

Three hundred people gathered for the blessing ceremony and a Kāpiti Island kōhatu or stone was gifted to the people of Parihaka at the end, to further strengthen the links between the people.

As part of Te Raukura ki Kāpiti opening season, Parihaka, Kāpiti College's sell-out production written by Trim and Nicola Easthope will be re-staged in the centre's Coastlands Theatre on March 4 and 5.