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Te Ao Mārama

Te Ao Mārama derives from the traditional Māori understanding of how our current world came into existence.

It originates from the ancient narrative, in which Tāne (Māori guardian of the forest and birds) separated his parents – Ranginui (Sky Father) and Papatūānuku (Earth Mother) – to create a world of light and life for humankind. This world is known as ‘Te Ao Mārama’.

About our name: Te Ao Mārama - Tauranga City Libraries

Te Ao Mārama, the world of life and light, was selected in collaboration with mana whenua and approved by the then Tauranga District Council as the dual name for Tauranga City Libraries in 1998. 

In Māori oratory, Te Ao Mārama is paired with the term ‘Te Whai Ao’, which means daylight. The phrase “Ka puta ki te whai ao, ki te ao mārama” signifies the emergence into the world of light and enlightenment. 

In this context, Te Ao Mārama stands for the unveiling of knowledge from the library's collections and Te Ao Mārama - Tauranga City Libraries’ dedication to offering a wide range of opportunities and experiences to meet the diverse needs of our community.

About our logo


Te Ao Mārama

Te Ao Mārama - Tauranga City Libraries’ logo is rich in symbolism. Firstly, it features the pohutukawa flower, representing the revered pohutukawa tree and its importance to Māori people as an esteemed ancestor. Secondly, the logo evokes the image of the sun rising above the horizon, symbolizing new beginnings, fresh opportunities, and growth. Lastly, the open book represents the power of imagination and the endless pursuit of knowledge, embodying the thrill of discovery and the limitless possibilities found within the pages of a book.

About our pattern

The pattern featured across this website connects the meaning of Te Ao Mārama to our maunga, Mauao. It is comprised of a poutama design made up of repeating niho taniwha. At a closer glance, you may also notice some of the niho taniwha have been modified to appear as a silhouette of our maunga too!

This unique pattern brings together the concepts of coming into light, being enlightened through knowledge, Mauao being likened to a whare pukapuka as an iringa kōrero and keeper of stories and histories, and also educational and spiritual ascension. From a literal perspective, the niho taniwha can also be perceived as a birdseye-view of an open book, with the different outlined and filled versions reflecting the variety and diversity of knowledge that can be found throughout the world of books.

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