National | Ngāti Paoa

‘Heart of campus’ AUT strengthen ties with Ngāti Paoa over new building

This morning a dawn ceremony led by Ngāti Paoa unveiled Te Wānanga Aronui o Tāmaki Makau Rau’s new building, Tukutuku.

The design of the building came from a collaboration between the mana whenua and the university and building has been under way for several years at the university’s north campus in Northcote.

Vice-chancellor Damon Salesa said Tukutuku would be the campus’ main building and would house the Health and Environmental Sciences faculty.

“It’s been one of the most powerful things that’s come out of this process - a deepening and really an opening of AUT’s connection to Ngāti Paoa - and so the building has been an opportunity to build that relationship.

“Realising it today where Ngāti Paoa has come and supported us in opening the building, and blessing the building.”

He said the artwork woven into the building was befitting for a university.

Professor Damon Salesa (left) and Janine Williams (right) were looking forward to future collaborations. Credit/ Olivier Lim

The artist who took part in the design, Janine Williams (Ngāti Paoa, Ngāti Whātua ki Kaipara), said she had the privilege of putting iwi narratives into the building.

“We came up with a waka hourua concept and the kuaka [godwit] really special taonga manu for us as an iwi that talks about this preserving journey and so the kuaka behind me are symbolic of a pair of unified manu.”

She said the mural spoke to their partnership with Te Wānanga Aronui o Tāmaki Makau Rau and their future prospects.

Ngāti Paoa Iwi Trust chair Herearoha Skipper said the building’s name was gifted by Ngāti Paoa. It had a double meaning from the tukutuku panel (lattice artwork) and from the iwi’s tupuna, Paoa.

“We were pondering about our chiefly ancestor Tukutuku, the second wife of the ancestor Paoa. There is also a connection in the works of the tukutuku panels and whatu raranga, which binds this tribe and that tribe, no matter where they’re from. Students, workers, local iwi and the community are bound to this building, under the principle of nurture.”

Ngāti Paoa gifted the buildings name Tukutuku to the wānanga. Credit/ Olivier Lim

Williams is working with the wānanga on its cultural spatial framework plan to develop future projects.

Tukutuku will be open at the start of AUT’s semester 2 in mid-July with an official opening ceremony on July 26.