How Te Rito got its name

Te Rito is the inner leaf, or baby flax, at the heart of the harakeke

Te Rito is the inner leaf, the baby flax, at the heart of the harakeke. The name Te Rito was gifted to the programme by Te Aupouri, Aotearoa’s second most northern iwi.

Te Rito represents the tamaiti or child, surrounded by protective outer leaves, which represent whānau, family, hāpori, community, kaiako, teachers, educators, kura and schools.

The name Te Rito reflects our guiding principle: Me tiaki te mana o te tamaiti me tōna whānau | Protect and uphold the mana of the child and their whānau. This principle was established early in the development of Te Rito through the mahi of Te Rau Whakatupu Māori

Te Rau Whakatupu Māori and all those involved in developing and implementing Te Rito acknowledge that data held about ākonga and learners is taonga and must be protected accordingly. This is expressed in the whakatauākī below which was gifted along with the name Te Rito by Te Aupouri, whose ancestor, Meri Ngaroto, is credited with the whakatauākī:


Hutia te rito o te harakeke

If the heart of the harakeke (flax) was removed

Kei whea te kōmako e kōGreen and white illustration of Te Rito harakeke or flax

Where then would the bellbird sing?

Kī mai ki ahau:

If I was asked:

'He aha e mea nui o te ao?'

What is the most important thing in the world?

Māku e kī atu:

I would say:

'He tangata, he tangata, he tangata'.

'It is people, it is people, it is people'.

- Meri Ngaroto

We thank Te Aupouri and Te Rau Whakatupu - Māori and recognise their knowledge and contribution as a taonga for the benefit of all New Zealanders.


Te ("Tent" short sound)

Ri ("Reed" rolled "r")

to ("Tort" short sound)