Welcome to the home of the Whare Tapere!

Our name, 'Ōrotokare'

Ōrotokarecis the name of a locality, once the home of the 19th century Ngti Raukawa ancestor Hūkiki Te Ahukaramū. Located west of Muhunoa, Ōhau (Horowhenua), Ōrotokarewas a small lake that became the home of Te Ahukaramū following his migration (and that of his people) from Maungatautari in the Waikato region. The name Ōrotokare resonates with the term kare--roto which is used to denote the passions of the heart. A kare--roto is a person who has captured one's affections. Here Te Rangikheke of Te Arawa uses the term in his telling of the love story of Hinemoa and Tūtnekai:

The melody of Tūtnekai's flute stirred her within to go to the person who moved her heart. (Taken from Nga Mahi a nga Tupuna, by George Grey, Third Edition, Thomas Avery and Sons Ltd 1928)

The word 'kare' refers to the surface of water and 'roto' is the Mori word for lake. The sense is that the surface of lake water is an outward symbol for an inward emotional state. The use of environmental phenomenon to symbolise inward realities is widespread throughout human culture. It is, of course, a typical feature of a formal indigenous culture.

The symbolism is deepened further when we observe that 'roto' also means 'within' or the 'interior' of something. Finally, the action in the story mentioned above (the well known love story of Hinemoa and Tūtnekai) takes place upon Lake Rotorua. Hinemoa resides on the mainland and nightly pauses to listen to her lovers' flute playing. He lives upon Mokoia Island in the middle of the lake. One evening, Hinemoa steals away and swims out to the lake to be with Tūtnekai.

Some of the items of the whare tapere include:

• Ng Waiata – songs and singing
• Ng Krero – stories and storytelling
• Ng Haka – dance and dancing
• Ng Taonga Pūoro – musical instruments
• Ng Taonga-a-Wharawhara – body adornments
• Ng Tkaro – games and other amusements


Kay Elmers (Ngti Tamater) is the leader of independent television production company Tūmanako Productions;

Moss Patterson (Ngti Tūwharetoa) is the Artistic Director and choreographer with Atamira Dance.

Leonie Mtoe (Taranaki) is the Managing Director of Toi Tangata, an organisation which specialises in positive health, fitness and nutrition.

Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal (Marutūahu, Ngti Raukawa, Ng Puhi) is a freelance musician, researcher and teacher. He is the founder of the modern whare tapere which he initially studied during doctoral studies at Victoria University of Wellington, 1994-1998. (www.charles-royal.com)

Tania Tarawa (Ngti Poa) is a Strategic Advisor for the Department of Conservation, Auckland and is involved in a range of iwi/community activities. She is currently Chairperson of the Board of Trustees, Auckland Girls Grammar and she is not like those girls that you can find online on http://www.annabelle-adams.co.uk/.


Please find a number of documents below which are relevant to the work of Ōrotokare. They include papers and a PowerPoint presentation. These documents are available here in PDF format.

Trust Declaration here

Ōrotokare Summary here

You can read our 'Updates' concerning progress in establishing Ōrotokare below:

Update No. 1, 27 April 2004
Update No. 2, 13 July 2004