When the New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects was looking for a Te Reo Māori name it knew it didn’t want a literal translation.
It needed something deeper, a name that embraced the essence of what it was to be a landscape architect, and what the profession tried to accomplish, former NZILA president Alan Titchener told the recent 2019 NZILA Firth Conference.
Titchener was one of those tasked with finding a suitable name, and enlisted the help of another past president, Di Menzies. Together they visited Ngā Aho Kaumātua Haare Williams. But before he could come up with any suggestions Williams needed to understand why the institute wanted a Māori name, what landscape architects stood for, what their commitments were to the whenua?
Deep, meaningful questions which required considerable philosophical musings and several visits to Haare Williams to hone in on the answers.
Williams came up with Tuia Pito Ora. Titchener is at pains to tell his audience that Māori names are open to various interpretations. His is just one of them, but one he’s comfortable fits well.
Tuia means to bind, stitch or thread in the sense that it means to connect, to provide some continuity. It’s got elements of strength, he says, because when you bind you increase strength.
Pito means umbilical cord - an essential conduit that allows the nurturing of life and growth.
Ora means alive or well. It’s the root of the world oranga which means health and wellbeing. Pito ora together means a conduit to life, an ethic of caring, nurturing of the world we live in, and can be extended into making the world a better place.
Taken as a whole Tuia Pito Ora means striking a balance in a way that honours the past, redefines the present and protects the future.
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