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Te Tūāpapa Kura Kāinga – the story behind our name

In November 2020 the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development adopted a te reo Māori name – Te Tūāpapa Kura Kāinga.

The story behind our name

Te Tūāpapa Kura Kāinga translates to ‘the foundation for a treasured home’.

The name comes from the Māori proverb ‘he kura kāinga e hokia, he kura tangata e kore e hokia’, or ‘a treasured home will endure, not so a treasured person’. 

It carries a strong connection to our purpose: he kāinga ora, he hapori ora – thriving communities where everyone has a place to call home.

It speaks to the importance of ensuring the wellbeing of people within the home, and our connection with the land – acknowledging the generations of people who have always called this place ‘home’ – and our commitment to delivering for future generations of New Zealanders. 

The name was gifted to HUD by Kingi Kiriona, a passionate advocate for te reo Māori.

To learn more about the origins of Te Tūāpapa Kura Kāinga, watch the short video below.


Andrew: Tēnā tātau. Names are important, they have power and they have a role in defining us. I’m here with Kingi Kiriona, a passionate advocate for te reo Māori to talk about our name, Te Tūāpapa Kura Kāinga. Kingi is going to talk us through the origins of this name, which he has not only gifted us, but also challenged us to uphold. Kia ora Kingi.

Kingi: Kia ora Andrew, otira tēnā tātau katoa the name Te Tūāpapa Kura Kāinga it literally means the foundation for a treasured home it comes from a well known whakataukī or Māori proverb he kura kāinga e hokia, he kura tangata e kore e hokia. The proverb states that a treasured home may endure but not so a treasured person. In other words to treasure a home is to treasure the people within it and I thought that was particularly important given the purpose of the ministry is he kaīnga ora, he hapori ora thriving communities where everyone has a place to call home.

Andrew: Can you tell us a little bit more about how you see the connection between our whakataukī and our purpose? 

Kingi: The whakataukī also speaks to the value of whenua and the importance of what one leaves behind as a means for future generations to reconnect with the past and understand their identity which is relevant given the organisation’s efforts in advancing and really driving housing and urban development outcomes for Māori and to ensure that what is left behind makes it easier for future generations to live and live well and find a place to call home. The word Tūāpapa in the name captures the role of the organisation which is to provide the foundation upon which all people in Aotearoa can build and have access to a treasured place they can call home.

Andrew: Tēnā koe, Kingi. It’s important for all of us that our name, Te Tūāpapa Kura Kāinga, speaks to the importance of ensuring the wellbeing of people within the home and also our connection with the land acknowledging the generations of people who have always called this place ‘home’ and our commitment to delivering for future generations of Aotearoa New Zealand. Nō reira, e mihi nei ki a koe, e Kingi. Te Tūāpapa Kura Kāinga, a name that defines us and what we are here to do for Aotearoa New Zealand. Tēnā koutou.

How to pronounce our name

Our full name is Te Tūāpapa Kura Kāinga – Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.

Watch the short video below to help you learn how to pronounce it correctly.


Kararaina: Mauriora e te iwi Te Tūāpapa Kura Kāinga, the foundation of treasured homes and communities our name for this organisation.

Piripi: Let’s all have a go at getting the pronunciation right. It's a lot easier than it looks once we break it down! The first part - TE, like the ‘te’ in tent, but with a soft T. Macrons are used to lengthen the vowel sound, so we have TŪ, like the number two, but we drag out that final sound. Then Ā like ‘ahhh I get it’. Combine together to make ‘TŪĀ’.

Kararaina: Papa as in ‘Papatūānuku’ or the museum ‘Te Papa’. If we put TŪĀ and PAPA together we get ‘TŪĀPAPA’.

Piripi: KURA is a word you may have already heard. The first part, KU, followed by ‘RA’ – the rolling R. It may seem tricky to some of you, but it’s similar to a word we use here in the English language, think of how you pronounce the two t’s in the word butter. KU – RA - KURA.

Kararaina: Then we have kāinga. KĀ – like ‘car’, I – as in ‘eat’, NG – like the ‘ng’ in ‘singer’, A – like the u in ‘up’. Put together we get KĀINGA. 

Both: Te Tūāpapa Kura Kāinga. Kia kaha tātou! Give it a go.

Published: January 22, 2021