Knowing who you are and where you belong

Whakapapa is about connection to people, to the land, to the rivers and seas, to the mountains, and to all of creation. Through knowing their whakapapa, whānau gain their identity, history and knowledge about where they come from and where they belong.

He kākano ahau, i ruia mai i Rangiātea e kore au e ngaro
I am a seed born of greatness and I shall never be lost

What is Whakapapa?


At the very centre of the tohu we see the rauru (the space) where the two lines of genealogy meet. This is the space where the absolute potential for life is present. The whiore (tail) of the kiore (native rat) illustrates that whakapapa is ancient, having its genesis in the beginnings of time itself. The kape (the gradual unfolding of the koru) illustrates the development and growth of the whakapapa from conception to birth.

Resources based on Whakapapa

E Tū Whānau has developed a number of resources to support whānau exploring and deepening their connection with Whakapapa.

Printed resources

Image of the cover of the Whakapapa booklet - one of six which explore the E Tū Whānau values

Whakapapa – this downloadable booklet is one in a series which explores the six E Tū Whānau values.

Sets of the whole series of booklets are available for ordering from our Resources page.

Activities for whānau support whānau to reconnect with their whakapapa and to explore other areas that strengthen and build mana.

Video resources

Visual resources which take a look at Whakapapa in action include:

Darrin Haimona explores how whakapapa relates to tapu, mana and the whānau as a whole.
Mel Robson explains how whakapapa is about a sense of obligation, reciprocity and connectedness

Want to know more?

Explore the range of E Tū Whānau resources designed to support positive transformations in whānau, hapū and hapori.

Read about E Tū Whānau, how the kaupapa includes refugees and migrants, or stories of positive change and growth from whānau across Aotearoa.