Te Manawa FAQs - cultural significance


What does Te Manawa mean?

Te Manawa means 'The Heart' and in this case symbolises both the heart of the city but also the heartfelt story of the two lovers Hinemoa and Tutanekai.

The name was gifted by Ngati Whakaue who were consulted as mana whenua, following calls for a new name to reflect the changes taking place.

What is the story behind the cultural elements?

In considering the design of Te Manawa it was recognised the space was not only a central connection for the people of Rotorua, but also a point of key cultural significance to Te Arawa and the Rotorua district.  

The key themes highlighting cultural significance are:

  • The legend of Hinemoa and Tutanekai
    Located at the intersection of Tutanekai and Hinemoa Streets the carved figures have stood in Rotorua's inner city for many years.

    The two carvings celebrated the legend of the two lovers who would not be separated, and were finally joined when Hinemoa swam from Hinemoa Point to Mokoia Island, the home of Tutanekai.

    It was important they remain part of the refreshed design. Using the landscaping and other elements the carvings were given more prominence within Te Manawa. Two transects (paved lines) have been incorporated which run underneath each of the carvings and point directly to the lover's homes – Hinemoa Point and Mokoia Island.

  • Mount Tarawera
    Within the paving design there are a number of transects (paved lines of a different colour) that represent the Tarawera eruption and the effect it had on the people and landscape of Rotorua.

    A plan of the proposed space was dissected into an 8m grid and the line pointing to Mount Tarawera was applied. Where the line intersected with the grid it was slightly disrupted, slightly rotating the line. These lines created the basis of the paving pattern, as well as defining paths, edges and landscaping throughout the space. These are not footpaths rather design elements.

  • Kuirau Park
    Kuirau Park and its geothermal landscape has prominence within the city and in the legend of Kuiarau, the wife of Tamahika who was dragged down into the lake by a Taniwha. In seeing the struggle between Kuiarau and the Taniwha the gods were angered and caused the lake to boil to destroy the Taniwha forever. Given the locality of Kuirau Park to the west of the city centre we have made reference to this in the design of a recreational green space to the western edge of Hinemoa Street.
Page reviewed: 03 Jul 2019 10:08am