Awa (House System)

Whare Groups

Te Paepae o Aotea students are placed in one of our four whare (house) groups, named after four of the Awa (rivers) in South Taranaki connecting us with Maunga Taranaki, land and sea. Our four Awa compete against each other in inter-Awa competition in all aspects of school life – academic, sports, art and culture.


Each Awa has students from the junior and senior school and a buddy system in place.
Our four Awa are: Pātea – the place where Aotea waka docked, Tangahoe – the place in which the hoe o Aotea waka rests, Waingongoro – the resting place of Turi, where he snored and Kaūpokonui – where the shape of a head rose within the cliff face. Students explore the significance of their Awa during their time at Te Paepae o Aotea.


With each whare comes significant korero that has been shared with us to uphold the mana of these names. Along with the kōrero, we also have colours which hold their own significance to each awa. We are very fortunate to have been blessed with these names for our Whare.


Kaupokonui; The big head of Turi. Turi and his Aotea waka entourage stopped at the mouth of this awa on their cross country hikoi from Kawhia/Aotea harbour 800 years ago.

To signify his claim to the land he formally lay the ceremonial cloak of Rongorongo (his wife and high-ranking Ariki Tapairu) called Hunakiko. This was laid on a special altar (Tuahu) called Maraekura, they carried on southwards until meeting the Pātea Awa where they successfully settled.

This awa mouth is also the residence site of the friendly tupua (taniwha) Aramanga who is kaitiaki of the Moana, Awa in that region, who also extends his protection to the people and inhabitants of that rohe.

Pingao (The colour yellow/gold) as per the native grass species endemic to Otamare on the western sand dunes at the mouth of the Kaupokonui, used extensively in garments (rain wear hieke) and tukutuku weaving panels in formal traditional Wharenui (ie within Te Ngakaunui Wharenui at Okaiawa).




Waingongoro; The awa Turi slept beside and snored (Ngongoro), a great food source of Tuna, tunaheke, piharau, inanga, kahawai, mataitai, access to the Moana, birdlife (Moa, kereru,etc), a place of mana, prestige for the many hapu and peoples along its length from Maunga to Moana. A realm of many tupua (taniwha) of which one of the more famous is Toi the fierce kaitiaki from Waingongoro to deep south into Ngati Ruanui along the Moana.

Kahukura (The colour Red) to signify the regal colour of Rangatira, who wore red raukura as a mark of rank, red ochre adorning the body and traditional whakairo carvings.

Red also signifies the Ngaruahine link to the whenua, mother earth designating the blood spilt to protect and nurture land and man. The traditional colour of Ngaruahine sports teams, especially Maori Rugby.