Ao Māori: Ara : Our names

A guide to resources relating to the world of Māori including Treaty of Waitangi

Our Māori names

Find here some meanings of key names associated with Ara Institute of Canterbury.

Building names at City campus, Madras Street, Christchurch

The meaning behind Manawa whenua, Manawa tangata

Manawa Whenua, Manawa Tangata

Planning for the Health Research Education Facility incorporated a distinctively Māori cultural narrative incapsulated in the word or kupu - Manawa. It means:

(i) heart (both the organ and the emotion)

(ii) patience, tolerance

(iii) breath

The name, however, is taken from a contemporary pepeha (proverb) - Manawa Whenua, Manawa Tangata that speaks to the intimate connection between human health and the health of our environment.

  • Manawa whenua - (a deep fresh-water spring) is used as a metaphor for environmental health
  • Manawa tangata - (the human heart) is used as a metaphor for human health


Kahukura the Engineering and Architectural Studies building at City campus is Christchurch on Moorhouse Avenue, is designed around leading, innovative, flexible learning and work spaces for our students and staff.  It's name refers to a chiefly cloak, a rainbow and the ancestor of the Cashmere Hills, which the building looks towards. Find out more about the Kahukura building here.


The meaning behind Ara: Ara rau, taumata rau

In 2016 Ara was created from the merge of CPIT and Aoraki Polytechnic. The new name, logo and bi-cultural symbol are explained here.

Ara meaning: In Māori, Ara means 'pathway' or 'to rise up'. This reflects our aspiration to be a responsive and inclusive provider of education that creates multiple opportunities for all, regardless of origin and destination. It represents the learning process, the many pathways to success, and the routes and rivers that criss-cross the Canterbury Plains from the mountains to the sea.

The Māori phrase underpinning the logo Ara rau, taumata rau means "Many pathways, many opportunities". This reflects the varied pathways to success indicating multiple levels in learning. This reflects the varied aspirations of our learners and recognises learning as being a lifelong undertaking.

The Ara logo illustrates the journey of learning and the summit of success, while also drawing inspiration from Māori tukutuku panelling traditionally used to decorate Wharenui and teeth of a taniwha. The triangles represent strength, determination, and the many entry and exit points to and from Ara.


Manawa: Health Research and Education Facility

manawa campus

Find out more about this campus from the Ara website.

Te Kei

Te Kei houses the executive, Finance, People and Development, Marketing Services and International Services teams. Its name appropriately  means the bow of the canoe. You can read more about this award winning building on the Ara website.