When you wander around Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum, you’ll notice that each space you enter has been given a name on the signage around the building, in both English and te reo Māori. We take our responsibility under Te Tiriti o Waitangi to uplift and amplify te reo Māori as an official language of Aotearoa.

Naming is an important to Te Ao Māori as it connects to history and whakapapa, as an embodiment of our mātauranga. The Māori names of our galleries and public spaces were given after a thorough process that involved research and consultation with trusted experts.

On this page, we share the meanings behind each Māori name in your Museum, along with audio recordings of each. Take a listen to find out how each place name should be pronounced correctly.

Next time you visit the Museum, why not try and incorporate some of these ingoa?

Ground floor

Te Tapuae nuku

Our People and Place
Footprints in the sand.


Te Whei Ao

Grand Foyer
The place between the world of darkness and the world of light.

Tai Ātea

Pacific Galleries
Acknowledges our connections to the sea, tides – our connections across the oceans.

Auaha Ātea Nui

Special Exhibition
Space to be creative/innovative.

Te Marae Ātea

Māori Court
Acknowledges the central space to gather, including connections to kāinga and pōwhiri.


Te Ao Mārama

South Atrium
The world of light, enlightenment.

Tāmaki Herenga Waka

Stories of Auckland
Acknowledges the arrival of waka – connections to many people, arriving here in Tāmaki.

Tikanga ā Kiwa

Pacific Lifeways
Acknowledges our connections to the cultural protocols, ways of being from the Pacific.

Ngā Mounga ā Kiwa

Pacific Masterpieces
Acknowledges our connections the ancestral landscapes of the Pacific.


Puku Nui

Kai Room
Play on words: Full puku; satisfied puku, manaaki and sustenance.


Museum Store
Purchase treasures to take away with you for when you return home.

Level 1

Te Ao Tūroa

Our World
The natural world, light of day.


Te Maapura

Kids Galleries
Speaks to the curiosity of children, when their “eyes light up” in amazement.

Te Tua o Nuku

Land and Origins
The origins of land, the backbone of Papatuanuku.

Toi Kura

Applied Arts & Design

Te Onamata

Ancient Worlds


Te Whiwhinga

The Imaginarium
Acquisition after hard work.
Comes from waka navigational traditions to discover a solution to a problem: Te Rapunga, Te Kitenga, Te Whainga, Te Whiwhinga, Te Rawenga.


Weird & Wonderful
Acknowledging the deity Māui who represents curiosity, mischief, exploration.
The youngest child who is inquisitive.




Acknowledging our earth mother.


Toi Kura

Decorative Arts

Uku Hapanihi

Japanese Ceramics

Toi Āhia

Arts of Asia


Acknowledges the Atua of volcanoes.


Te Ao Tūroa

Māori Natural History
The natural world.

Level 2

Te Ngana o Tū, Te Pou o Rongo

War and Remembrance
Speaks to the tenacity and perseverance of Tu and the steadfastness of Rongo.


Ngā Manu Whiti Tua

Memorials & Commemoration
Remembering people who have passed.
The birds who have gone to the other side = people who have passed on.

Ko Tū, Ko Rongo

War Galleries
Acknowledges the presence of two Atua Tumatauenga and Rongo.

Pou Maumahara

War Memorial Discovery Centre
A place of remembrance.

Te Maringi Toto

World War I & earlier (Zero, New Zealand at War, Boer War, World War I)
Remembering the blood that was spilt.


Pou Kanohi

New Zealand at War
Acknowledging all the faces of war.

Ngā Mata Ngaro Tuatahi

Hall of Memories I
The many faces of the lost/fallen.
Connecting to the sense of sadness and loss.

Ngā Mata Ngaro Tuarua 

Hall of Memories II
The faces of the fallen/lost.

Te Maringi Roimata

World War II onwards (Spitfire, World War II)
Remembering the tears that were shed.


Urupatu Kōhuru

Holocaust Gallery

Ngā Kara Motuhake

Regimental Colours

Auaha Ātea

Art, Photography & Archives Gallery (Sainsbury Horrocks)
Space to be creative/innovative.

Te Pātaka Mātāpuna



Te Mata Tairongo

A space that provides “food” for the senses.
Performances to delight the senses.

Level 3

Te Pae Kōtiu

Under the Dome at Auckland Museum
Connection to the waiata He Aha te Hau.
Acknowledging the winds, Nautilius Shell.
Connection to Ngāti Whātua Orakei.