Today, as we collectively recognise the 1840 signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, Google New Zealand’s Doodle depicts Te Whare Rūnanga - an important landmark of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds - in acknowledgement of Waitangi Day.
Nestled in the far northern Bay of Islands, surrounded by 140 subtropical islands, Waitangi stands out both for its beauty and for the history it carries for Aotearoa. These grounds are often referred to as “Te Pito Whenua, The Birthplace of our Nation” in reference to the site where New Zealand's Treaty of Waitangi was signed. Upon this significant place, standing proudly is Te Whare Rūnanga (the House of Assembly) which, alongside the Treaty House, is representative of the partnership between Māori and the British Crown.
Opened on the centenary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi as a place to bring people together for important hui (meetings), visitors from all over New Zealand and the world have come to gather at and observe the Whare as one of the most important historical sites for Aotearoa. The unique carvings and intricate tukutuku panels in the Whare design represent Māori throughout Aotearoa as it brings together the stories and styles of all Iwi (tribes), and thus showcases a completely unique gallery of Māori art, as well as an example of Māori social and cultural life.
Waitangi Treaty Grounds Cultural Manager Mori Rapana was consulted throughout the Doodle design process and said, “In Māori culture, the structure itself is seen as an outstretched body, with the roof’s apex at the front of the house representing the ancestor’s head. The main ridge beam represents the backbone, the diagonal bargeboards which lead out from the roof are the arms and the lower ends of the bargeboards divide to represent fingers. Inside, the centre pole is seen as the heart, the rafters reflect the ancestor’s ribs, and the interior is the ancestor’s chest and stomach.”
I interpret the lines on either side of the green base as representing hands holding up the Whare and thus bringing us as a nation together. The flicks on either side of the whare to me represent a bird spreading its wings, and the outline of the drawing to represent the wings of a kite - which in Māori culture is what brought the East and the West coast together.”
Kiwis all over New Zealand can also take a journey through the Waitangi Treaty Grounds today, through Inside the Treaty Grounds, a digital experience on Google Arts and Culture. Captured in 2017 in partnership with CyArk, to celebrate and share the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, Kiwis and those abroad alike can learn and explore more about this historic site. On mobile devices, searching for “Waitangi Treaty Grounds” brings up an AR experience that allows you to view the Meeting House in your own space.
Search on mobile device for 'Waitangi Treaty Grounds' to view in your space
Together with our partners, we’re privileged to help celebrate and preserve the Waitangi Treaty Grounds through technology, to share this history and culture with the world.