Tapuwae means ‘sacred footprint’. The Māori Heritage Council (the Council) uses this term to symbolise the Māori heritage ‘footprints’ in the landscape. It is also used to communicate the idea that we can look back to where we have been as we move forward, taking more steps. The Council has a national leadership role to promote and advocate for Māori heritage and facilitate greater recognition, understanding and appreciation of Māori heritage places.
Tapuwae articulates a vision for Māori heritage. This is a practical, pragmatic vision grounded in kaitiakitanga and informed by the nation’s legal and political environment.
Māori heritage is central to New Zealand’s unique identity. It is New Zealand’s earliest heritage. The ‘footprint’ of iwi and hapū life and culture since the first arrivals in Aotearoa some 800 years ago, it is substantial and touches all parts of our country.
Māori heritage places give meaning and prestige to the history, traditions, culture and identity of whānau, hapū and iwi. They include sacred and historic sites, ancestral places, tribal landmarks, cultural landscapes, and built heritage features such as marae and church buildings, structures and monuments. It is imbued with mana and spirituality that endure through generation and lives on through relationships of people and place.
Māori heritage is New Zealand’s heritage. Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga offers Tapuwae as a contribution to New Zealand’s developing sense of nationhood that takes pride in its indigenous heritage and associated value systems.