2008 Whanganui Woodcut Series
There are several versions of the story of the discovery of Aotearoa, but one commonly told describes the great rangatira Kupe chasing a fish-stealing octopus from Hawaiki to arrive on our shores. After exploring both Te Ika-a-Māui and Te Waipounamu he returned to Hawaiki from the Northland harbour Te Hokianga-nui-a-Kupe ‘the place of Kupe’s great return’. Many navigators followed, bringing people and resources to Aotearoa, and some continued to make return trips to the homeland of Hawaiki, also referred to as Rangiātea. For reasons no longer known, this return voyaging paused for some centuries, but ancestral homelands were remembered in mātauranga (knowledge) passed from generation to generation. A whakataukī (proverb) describes this ongoing relationship as a lynchpin of Māori identity and belonging:
E kore au e ngaro, he kākano i ruia mai i Rangiātea.
I will never be lost, for I am a seed scattered from Rangiātea.