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About Tapuaka

Tapuaka is the Māori name for the heritage & archive collections at Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington. A tapuaka is a particular knot that was used traditionally by Māori to tie the punga (anchor) of a waka (canoe). Thus the name Tapuaka relates to the idea of our university as ‘Te Herenga Waka’ – the ‘hitching post’, our people as the 'waka', and us as the anchor knot connecting our past to the present. These ideas are encapsulated in our new anchor knot motif, which was created by prominent designer and Te Herenga Waka staff member, David Hakaraia.

Tapuaka’s mission is to preserve and make accessible the social and cultural history of our university for current and future generations. We also hold many other collections of archives, developed over time to support teaching and research at Te Herenga Waka and in the wider community. Our collections are a treasure trove of historical materials that includes rare books, manuscripts, photographs, maps, pamphlets, objects, and other unique items.

Through this site our users now have another way to engage with us – a platform that makes our digitised and born-digital heritage and archives available online. Making these items more discoverable supports engagement and use, and allows us to build collections of like material and to show the relationships between collections, people, places, and organisations.

Our ongoing programme of digitisation means that material will be continue to be added to the site, along with additional information about the collections and the links between them. Once we are fully up and running, our members will also be able to contribute to the site through sharing knowledge and memories about items in the collections.

How you can use this site:

  • search for topics, events, people, dates
  • print, download, and share extracts, articles, and photos
  • submit information about people or events you recognise
  • create collections of your favourite items

We invite you to explore our collections and discover the rich history of Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington. If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment to visit, please don't hesitate to contact us.