Who we are

Ko te tangata
Ko te Kura Toi Tangata
Tihei, ko Te Whai Toi Tangata
Tihei mauri ora

Te Whai Toi Tangata staff

Our Heritage

Te Whai Toi Tangata Institute of Professional Learning is a bilingual, bicultural professional learning and development organisation founded on a base of more than two decades of internationally recognised delivery and research. We are an integral part of the Faculty of Education at the University of Waikato. Our Institute provides high quality, research informed programmes of professional learning and development that contribute to improved professional practice in early childhood centres, kura, schools and tertiary institutions nationally and internationally.

Our Logo

The logo of Te Whai Toi Tangata Institute of Professional Learning, depicts a huia feather. The feather was chosen to link to the images of whai to chase after, or the word used to describe a traditional wānanga (school) and toi a treasure. Tangata refers to the people. Thus, multiple images are conjured, when Whai, Toi and Tangata are conceptualised together, that encapsulate the values and aspirations of Te Whai Toi Tangata Institute of Professional Learning.


The huia feather is a revered treasure for Māori and symbolises leadership and mana. The feathers from the tail of the huia were particularly prized and were worn in the hair or around the neck by both men and women. Feathers were often stored in intricately carved boxes known as wakahuia.

The huia was unique in the way the male and female beaks performed complementary tasks ╨ the male bird had a stout beak to break into logs and the female, a longer curved beak to extract the beetle larvae, which formed the basis of their diet. This differentiation meant that, for huia, the competition between the two for food was minimised.

Unfortunately, huia became extinct in the 20th century as the fashion for their feathers spread across Britain and Europe and indiscriminate hunting decimated the huia population. The last confirmed sighting of huia was recorded in 1907. Thus the huia, and particularly the tail feathers, also symbolise the consequences when sustainable practices are not in place.

The image was created especially for Te Whai Toi Tangata Institute of Professional Learning, by noted Tūhoe artist and Faculty of Education lecturer, Donn Ratana. Donn's image is a wakahuia formed by arms encircled to support the treasure within. It links strongly to the Institute's purpose of working in partnership to improve learning outcomes for all.