Our Cultural Narrative

Mātai Rangatira ~ the majestic mātai

Turning inland, the wāhi taonga of Hinepaaka is situated near Alford. This site was the name of a sole majestic matai tree that stood as a marker and symbol for those travelling across the Plains and was named after the grandmother of Te Ruahikihiki. Although the original tree was felled by wind many years ago, a new tree was planted in its place by the kaumātua of Taumutu, Arowhenua and Tuahiwi.

Mātai use includes:

  • Rongoā
  • Tools
  • Nets
  • Building / floors
  • Is classified as one of the ‘rākau rangatira’


The Matai grows from a juvenile form through to a mature shape which symbolises the transition of the students at Glentunnel school. As above the Matai has many uses therefore is very flexible and multipurpose. The wood of the Matai is exceptionally strong and durable, again attributes of students at Glentunnel.

The whakatauki for Vision – “He rākau morimori, e kore e taea te piki” Whakatauki translation – A tree shorn of branches cannot be climbed. Interpretation – A difficult goal must be approached step by step without trying to find a shortcut.