Te Taurawhiri Totara


This fledgling tōtara marks the burial place of Te Taurawhiri the carved pou (pole), which once graced the courtyard of the Davis Library.
Te Taurawhiri was carved inside the Davis Library and was gifted by Whanganui iwi to the city of Whanganui in 1984. 
The main figures on the pou represent the three ancestral guardians of the Whanganui River. Hinengākau the guardian of the upper reaches of the Whanganui River, Tamaupoko the guardian of the middle reaches of the river and Tupoho guardian of the lower reaches to the sea. It was named for the “taurawhiri (plaited rope) of Hinengākau” that is representative of the close ties of the people of the Whanganui iwi to the Whanganui River and its tributaries.
The Te Taurawhiri pou was erected in the courtyard of the Davis Library from where it projected a unifying influence over the city.
In 1990s the pou began to show signs of deterioration and in 1999 it was taken down and returned to the earth. The young tōtara was planted to ensure that the resting place of Te Taurawhiri was not forgotten. After its passing the pou became the impetus and inspiration for the Te Taurawhiri Māori collection that we have in the library today.


“Mai i te kāhui maunga ki Tangaroa”
“From the mountains to the sea”