A digital asset aiming to build identity and well being of Te Arawa has graced our shores.

Te Arawa Digital Storehouse - He Pātaka Pūrakau launched last Thursday bringing some of the well-known and lesser-known Te Arawa specific stories to the surface.

The website is a koha from Ngā Pūmanawa e Waru Education Trust to the Rotorua education sector as a response to the need to ensure all learners have access to cultural contexts which engage them in learning.

It contains a collection of 60 stories about people, places and events that are applicable to Rotorua and to the people of Te Arawa.


Project manager Mercia Dawn-Yates said it was only the beginning.

"Our intent is that there will be more added to the initial complement of stories because part of our vision for this is that others will contribute.

"We're writing to keep these stories alive and intact."

The website works by using imagery to showcase eight qualities that connect to the stories which Te Arawa academic Dr Angus Macfarlane found highly influenced success.

Dawn-Yates said there were no photographic images on the site because she wanted the children to create their own images and did not want them to distort their view.

But there is one photograph on the site which is extra special.

Screenshot of the Te Arawa Stories - He Pātaka Pūrākau website with Aunty Bea. Image / Supplied
Screenshot of the Te Arawa Stories - He Pātaka Pūrākau website with Aunty Bea. Image / Supplied

"We have dedicated this website to Aunty Bea.

"She was one of our trustees for Ngā Pūmanawa e Waru and a prolific storyteller and writer herself."


Dawn-Yates said the trust was fortunate to have had her support since the inception of the initiative and consequently throughout its first three years as a dedicated trustee.

Head of the social sciences at Rotorua Girls' High School Wai Morrison said the website would be an asset to all students as they were learning via the internet at an extremely young age.

"You may have heard about our students becoming part of the global village, but for us, it is very important that our teachers know first locally.

"There is no use going out there if they don't know what is here first."

Ngā Pūmanawa e Waru Education Trust executive director Leith Comer said the website was something special for the Rotorua community to treasure.

"When I was [younger] I knew a lot about the spinning jenny and a lot about the industrial revolution in Britain... I could tell you about the New Zealand country but I could not tell you about the origin of names of the town in which I lived.

"What this does is provide you with an opportunity to know those stories."