Victoria’s Māori name
About the origin of Victoria’s Māori name.
The origins of this name date from the University Council’s decision in the early 1990s to consult with Wellington iwi on an appropriate Māori name for the University.
The University’s Treaty of Waitangi Consultative Group consulted widely with Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (the Māori Language Commission), Māori academics and prominent Māori leaders on an appropriate name. A number of alternatives were considered.
The Council accepted the Group’s recommendation at its meeting in December 1994, believing it to be a name that Māori, students, staff and the wider community, would readily identify with.
The first part of the name, Te Whare Wānanga, translates as “the place or house of higher learning” and is a phrase now widely used by universities in New Zealand. The second half of the name says that the University is located “at the head of the fish of Māui”. This derives from Māori legend that tells the story of a Polynesian explorer, Māui, who hauled up the North Island of Aotearoa from the sea using a magic fishhook.