Tapuwae-Onuku
We of the sacred footprint in the earth
Ngāi Tai have a long, unbroken genealogy and occupation of their lands, waters and seas extending from the aboriginal Polynesian settlers, pre-dating the Hawaiiki immigrants. The symbol best describing this is the taonga currently residing in the Auckland Museum, being a fossil human footprint dating from the founding eruption of Rangitoto 600 years ago and discovered on Motutapu island. A place long held sacred to Ngāi Tai for their many waahi tapu and association with the Tupua at that place.
 
Tapuwae-Ariki
The footprints of the high-born
Smaller footprints remind us of the many descendants & mokopuna (riki), who have crossed this region over that long period of time. Larger footprints remind us of our high-born chiefly lines (ariki) and ancestors. These remind us how important those leaders were and their value as navigators through our history.
 
Tapuwae-Otai
The footprints on our foreshores
Even our tribal name Ngāi Tai, resounds as the story of a maritime people unencumbered by any normal sense of boundaries. Where our vision was only limited by our imagination. It was the same vision, honed by thousands of years of exploration, facing the challenge of crossing the world’s greatest ocean for survival. These descendants of Maui today carry his DNA and values into the new world of Ngāi Tai, true inheritors and worthy recipients of a boundless legacy left by the ancients and their numerous descendants.