Te Taratara ā Kae and Wan Solwara

Te Taratara ā Kae holds the Māori and indigenous collection in the Kelburn Library and Wan Solwara houses the Pasifika collection.


The furniture in Te Taratara ā Kae and Wan Solwara is designed to be flexible. You are welcome to rearrange the space to suit your needs, but please be respectful of other users. You must return furniture to its original place when you are finished with it. Te Taratara ā Kae/Wan Solwara contains:

  • tables and seating for individual and group study
  • student computers
  • couches and comfortable chairs.

These spaces are in a green zone, intended for group work and conversation. However, you must still respect other users of the space.

Use of the space

Please respect the following:

  • this space is available for everyone to use
  • shelving units can be moved around for an event but books must be clearly visible and accessible at all times
  • food and drink are allowed, but not on the rugs
  • please put all rubbish in bins
  • please do not move furniture or rubbish bins in front of art work
  • please do not sit on tables.

The collection

The Māori and Pasifika Collections at the Kelburn Library consists of books selected for their relevance to the teaching and research of Te Kawa ā Maui and Va’aomanū Pasifika, plus basic reference works, and samples of material from other disciplines.

Taonga in Te Taratara ā Kae

The name

“Te taratara ā kae” is the name for the jagged whale tooth design found on most traditional pātaka (storehouses). The design indicates abundance and wealth. This name complements the Library’s name in te Reo Māori, “Te Pātaka Kōrero”, alluding to the wealth and abundance of knowledge the Library contains. The choice of an ancient name is tohi; it links the new space to what has gone before and imbues it with mauri (life force) to give it life and vibrancy.

"Wan solwara" means "one ocean" in Papua New Guinean and reflects the strong connections between all Pacific people.

The space

Instead of walls, Te Taratara ā Kae has widely spaced floor to ceiling pillars, which allow light and sound into and out of the space, and are designed to evoke a Māori pā or Pacific village. Inside, the space has been modeled on a wharenui (meeting house), and laid out according to traditional Māori spatial design principles.

The pou

There are two pou (gateposts) at the front entrance of Te Taratara ā Kae, carved by master carver Dr Takirirangi Smith. The figures on the pou are Tāwhaki and Karihi, who ascended to the heavens and brought back knowledge, and their wives Maikūkū and Maikākā, who watch over those who seek knowledge—like the users of Te Taratara ā Kae.

The label

The special label for books in the Māori and Pasifika collection is the winning entry from a competition to design a label in harmony with the goals of the collection. It was designed by Emma Gardiner.