How Te Rito got its name

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

Our name, Te Rito, is representative of 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 and identified through the mahi of Te Rau Whakatupu - Māori

Te Rau Whakatupu - Māori also connected this principle to the symbolism of the harakeke and the following 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


This whakatauākī was gifted for the programme's use by Te Aupouri. Their ancestor, Meri Ngaroto, is credited with this whakatauākī which urges consideration for what's important.

Te Rito is the inner leaf, or baby flax, at the heart of the harakeke. Te Rito represents the tamaiti and child or ākonga and learner, surrounded by protective outer leaves, which represent whānau, family, hāpori, community, kaiako, teachers, educators, kura and schools.

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)