Hero photograph
Jessie Chang
Photo by TGC

He Karere Tūī - The Tūī's message


In 2020 Jessie Chang, Year 13, won the competition for the naming of our Pānui. Jessie researched and consulted with Toni Heke-Ririnui, the education manager for Ngāti Ranginui iwi.

“To appropriately reflect our localised curriculum and connection to Tauranga Moana, I decided to draw on the narrative of the tohunga Kinomoerua and Apanui Ringamutu”.

At first, Apanui’s tribe had very little mana. They were known for the many battles they had lost, and as a result Apanui had little influence over the neighbouring tribes so he decided to seek wisdom from Kinomoerua, a tohunga in the western Bay of Plenty. It was Kinomoerua’s Tūī’ that informed him about Apanui’s pending arrival, allowing him to prepare the marae for his visitors. From watching two contrasting scenes of a bird failing to catch prey and the rocks withstanding harsh waves, Apanui was able to learn a valuable lesson. He was inspired by the steadfast strength of the rocks withstanding the turbulent waters. After returning home, Apanui was able to replicate the rocks’ strength and perseverance, winning many battles and regaining honour and pride.

To reflect the way the Tūī’ acted as a messenger to connect Apanui and Kinomoerua, I decided to name our Pānui ‘He Karere Tūī’. Just like how the Tūī’ informed Kinomoerua about Apanui’s arrival, our Pānui will inform everyone connected to TGC of the positive news and celebrations of our students. Not only does the Tūī’ serve to symbolise the narrative, it is also special to our school as they can frequently be seen in our school grounds. This made it the perfect bird to represent the Pānui as it incorporates both past and present images of the Bay of Plenty and TGC.”

Toni Heke-Ririnui acknowledged the legacy Jessie leaves behind not only for Tauranga Girls’ College but also Aotearoa/New Zealand “After talking with Jessie and directing her to the Tauranga Moana Stories collection by Evelyn Stoke, she was quick to realise the importance of reflecting a local and cultural connection to Tauranga Moana.”

Jessie was a Kaitiakitanga/Environmental prefect in 2020 and has now returned home to Korea to further her studies in Environmental Science.

Jessie is pictured here in Tamateapokaiwhenua Marae in Judea with the poupou carvings depicting this pūrākau/story. Our affiliation to this Marae is because Tauranga Girls’ College is situated on Ngāti Ranginui iwi, Ngai tamarawaho Hapu whenua/land.