Querencia is a Spanish word that describes a place where one feels safe, a place from which one's strength of character is drawn and a place where one feels at home.

After tonight's launch of Wahiao: the People of Whakarewarewa, artist June Grant used the word when summing up the book, the place and the event.

"It's a word I have recently found and it sums up perfectly, the way I feel about this place.

"It doesn't matter where I am in the world, my heart is here."


Like the book Wahiao: the People of Whakarewarewa, Grant was born and raised in the village. And like many people affiliated to the village, she is in awe of the book.

Written by Marian Mare and Alona Parker, the material for the book was sourced from researcher David Alexander and the Wahiao people.

Te Maru o Ngati Wahiao's Grace Hoet said the book was a "guided walk through the land, time and history of the people who live at Whakarewarewa in Rotorua".

"Local voices guide the reader through their family stories and history. Stories are told from a personal perspective and layered with childhood memories both experienced and witnessed."

She said the text and photos in the hard-cover book were exquisite.

"The book is a living, breathing entity and is a snapshot in time that has been immortalised.

"It is a foundation for whanau growth, for pride and for achievement. Wahiao: the People of Whakarewarewa will be a handbook for future generations, especially if anyone of theirs should ever ask; Who am I?"

Hoet said response to the book had been amazing.

"It's a real taonga for people connected to the village. But it is also a long-awaited book, wanted by the thousands of visitors who have visited Whakarewarewa Village over the years."

Mare, who is affiliated with Te Arawa iwi, and Parker have worked together on several research, psychology and social science projects.