The tohu of Matike Mai Aotearoa was originally illustrated by Tamatea Kōpua, who was a rangatahi at the time and participated in the initial hui of Matike Mai Aotearoa Rangatahi. The original tohu of Matike Mai has held the essence of Matike Mai for the past 12 years. The tohu itself represents the confluence of all manifestations of our atua Māori and reflects our ecosystemic natures and environments of which we exist.


The mangopare reminds us to be daring, to dream of what is needed, be focused, and to forge our path unyieldingly in the interests of future generations. The mangopare depictes a whakaaro shared to us by Mereana Pitman: “My greatest aspiration is that my mokopuna will laugh at the feebleness of my dreams.” This kōrero speaks to the intergenerational determination of the kaupapa and emphasises not only  courage and strength but also an unwavering resolve that knows no bounds. Renowned philosopher and pioneer of Matike Mai, Pā Moana Jackson, once eloquently remarked, “courage is just the deep breath before you do something different.” It is incumbent upon each of us to possess such unwavering courage, as we must dare to question the status quo of constitutional arrangements and fearlessly uphold the audacity to envision and secure a decision-making system that benefits future generations.


The maunga whakahī depicted under the mangopare reflects the realization of Te Āo Mārama, protected within our origin stories of Rangi and Papa. With a deep understanding of the interconnectedness of all things, Tāne realized the separation of their parents was necessary for growth, harmony, and the flourishing of new life. Drawing upon his wisdom and empathy, Tāne summoned his inner strength and delicately persuaded his siblings to aid him in the task of separating their parents. Tāne was both brave and poignant in his decision and leadership, as it required a profound sacrifice. In making this choice, he demonstrated deep respect for the desires of his parents and needs of his siblings, as well as a commitment to restoring harmony and enabling new life! Captured in the whakataukī “ko te mana o Tāne ko te whakarongo”  is the integrity, wisdom, empathy and selflessness Tāne possesses in order to facilitate the delicate dance of creation – a process that was and is both fundamentally painful and necessary.


Whakapapa serves as a powerful beacon, delineating distinct time periods that anchorour kaupapa: inamata (the past), onamata (the present), and anamata (the future). In all our endeavours, it is imperative that we not only honour and draw wisdom from inamata, the foundation of our journey, but also remain acutely aware of our current reality, onamata.

With resolute certainty, we recognize that the present moment is the opportune time for transformation. It falls upon us to embrace this pivotal role, for if not us, then who? If not now, then when? We must firmly grasp the responsibility to shape our world, propelled by a vision that extends beyond our own lives and into the distanced horizons of anamata.

Our Rārangi Whakapapa beckons us to traverse the temporal tapestry of inamata, onamata, and anamata with clarity and conviction. By drawing from the past, seizing the present, and walking into the future, we embark on a transformative journey that will shape a brighter destiny for all.


Niho Taniwha represents the balance of te kauae runga (esoteric, sacred and upper realms that houses our celestial knowledge) and te kauae raro (tangible, exposed and physical realms that embodies our limited understandings and knowledge), which is our knowledge systems. It symbolises both protection and power. Representing the formidable teeth of the mythical taniwha, they serve as guardians against malevolent forces and embody the strength and resilience of our ancestors. Niho Taniwha symbolizes a connection to our cultural heritage and serves as a reminder of our duty to protect and preserve our traditions. Like the teeth of a taniwha, they instil a sense of fearlessness, empowering us to face adversity and overcome challenges with unwavering resolve.

It is a powerful visual expression of one’s identity, capability and lineage. Within this tradition, the kauae runga and kauae raro refer to the upper and lower chin tattoos, respectively. These sacred markings not only adorn the face but also carry profound symbolism. They reflect their connections to their ancestors, whakapapa (genealogy), and tribal affiliations. While the kauae runga is immovable and always relevant, the kauae raro is adaptable and responsive. In duality, these two aspects of niho taniwha will be permanent the guides directing Matike Mai into the future.

As we look ahead, our aspirations must be boundless. We must dream, imagine, and envision a future that challenges and surpasses any expectations of the present, always aiming to become exemplary tīpuna and ancestors of immense virtue. It is our obligation to prepare a world, which cultivates an unwavering commitment to the well-being of future generations.


The iho matua serves as the foundational essence that binds us together, embodying our ancestral heritage and wisdom. Like the roots of a mighty tree, the iho matua provides nourishment, stability, and a sense of rootedness to our collectivity and identity. Functioning as a guiding force, the iho matua preserves and carries the weight of our traditions, values, and cultural practices. It serves as a moral compass, offering guidance and wisdom in times of uncertainty, ensuring that we stay connected to our purpose whilst adapting to the evolving world.

Moreover, the iho matua serves as a conduit for intergenerational knowledge transfer, fostering a deep sense of continuity and interconnection. It connects us to heavenly realms, our ancestors, narratives and their teachings, allowing us to draw strength and inspiration from their experiences and wisdom. In essence, the iho matua reminds us of our collective responsibility to honor and uphold our cultural heritage and serves as a source of guidance and inspiration as we navigate the complexities of the modern world.