Te Kauwae Parāoa

Te Kauwae Parāoa is the Māori and Pasifika space in the Law Library.

About the Space

The Name

'Te Kauwae Parāoa’ is a reference to the jawbone of the whale. As an ancient creature of the sea, the whale journeys thousands of kilometres every year throughout the Pacific and the world. The name symbolises the journey that many of our Māori and Pasifika students embark on at law school, and the personal, mental and spiritual development that results from their determination and hard work.

‘Te Kauwae Parāoa’ also incidentally refers to the Māori proverb ‘He rei nga niho, he paraoa nga kauae’|‘To have a whale’s tooth, one must also have the whale’s jaw’. This saying encapsulates the desire that our Māori and Pasifika students strive to excel at their studies, and the benefits of working towards the fulfilment of goals and expectations despite the numerous difficulties encountered along the way.

The Spaces

There are two rooms on the second floor of the Law Library (GB236 and GB233) which are designated as the Law Library's Māori and Pasifika space - Te Kauwae Parāoa.
GB236 can be used for group or individual study, and cultural events. The furniture layout is flexible, with folding movable tables and comfortable chairs and cushions. You are welcome to rearrange the space to suit your needs, but please be respectful of other users. Please return the furniture to its original place when you are finished with it.

Te Kauwae Parāoa is in a green zone, intended for group work and conversation; however, you must still respect other users of the space.

GB233 contains the Māori Land Court minute books, Waitangi Tribunal reports and the Raupatu document bank, along with items in the Law Māori and Pasifika collection. This room is primarily for individual study and use of the Māori and Pasifika collection.
Affixed to the wall is the banner designed as an art piece for Te Kauwae Parāoa. The room also contains two tables relocated from Le Ala i le Mālama space at the W.J. Scott Library, Karori Campus. Both the large central table and the smaller occasional table were created by Shane Hansen. The image of a whale's tail reflects the meaning of Le Ala i le Mālama, bringing the voyages and the spirit of the ancestors to the work people within this library space. Both tables are curved to follow the Pasifika custom.

The Banner

The banner (mounted as a wall-hanging in GB233) is an art piece created by a collaboration of artists including Tyson Tuala, Mose Viliamu and Johnny Andrews with direction from David Jones and Tai Ahu.

The piece encapsulates the idea behind the name of the room, “Te Kauwae Parāoa, the Whale's Jawbone”. It is both Māori and Pacific in look and feel so as to illustrate the commonalities of our peoples rather than the differences. This is seen in the merger of kowhaiwhai and Pacific patterns into the piece. The Whale has 3 koru designs on its back symbolising 100, 200 and 300 level laws papers, each progressively getting bigger in size to illustrate the road ahead in each level. This leads to the prized jawbone of the whale.

The whale's jawbone is a prized possession for Māori and a metaphor for knowledge. To attain knowledge is to take and hold the jawbone- kia mau ki te kauwae. This also encapsulates the notion of knowledge as power and knowledge such as law is also prized. The koru pattern from the head of the whale symbolises the whanau nature of Māori and Pacific students who come to study law here at Victoria University. They find that through learning and travelling the path of knowledge together, a strong bond is created like that of a family. The top of the design is the head of another whale like creature. If the image is turned upside down, another image is created of the whale which symbolises not just Māori but also the Pacific culture coming together under the same umbrella.

The image has been split into four panels to be symbolic of tukutuku panels, the waters of time, illustrating the amount of time and energy it takes to get through the law degree. The tukutuku panels also represent working together. One person cannot create a tukutuku, it comes from working with others where one person will “tuku” or send the aho or thread from one side through the structure and across to another person who will push it back through. This idea of helping each other out is all about what Māori and Pacific students do at Law School. The camaraderie through law school is captured in this idea of tukutuku.

The Label

The special label for books in the Māori and Pasifika collection is the winning entry from a competition to design a label in harmony with the goals of the collection. It was designed by Emma Gardiner.

Using the Space

We ask that you respect the following rules, so that everyone can enjoy the spaces:

  • These spaces are available for everyone to use
  • Covered drinks and cold food are allowed
  • Please put all rubbish in bins
  • Please keep noise levels to an acceptable level
  • No sitting on tables