2009 Aerial view of "Tumanako",
site of Te Māra Reo, looking east from the Waikato River.
January 2009 Aerial view of "Tumanako",
looking west towards the Waikato River.
One of the resident Pīwakawaka, perching briefly on a poroporo branch.
Te Māra Reo
The Language Garden
Te Māra Reo is a garden being developed to include examples of as many as possible of the New Zealand native plants which bear names brought to Aotearoa by the first Polynesian settlers and explorers, and a web site devoted to providing information about the plants and also about the history of each name.
Both the garden and the web site are very much works in progress, but the whole property consisted of bare paddocks with a single oak tree and a phoenix palm in 1996, and now contains a miniature forest, so progress has been steady over the years. The web site was launched on May 15, 2008, with about half a dozen pages. We are now (August 2010) about half way with both the living plants and the basic documentation about their descriptions and history. For more information about the beginnings of the project, go to the "Garden" option on the "Whakapapa" menu.
You can navigate through the web site through the main menu on the header of this page (which will eventually appear on all pages as the existing ones are revised-- there are over 100 of them, so that will not be completed for some time). There are supplementary links to other parts of the site on most pages. Information about individual species and names can be found through the "index" menu.
The header line at the top of each web page includes a small picture of one of our resident tui (on pages like this one, with the menu incorporated in the header), or pīwakawaka (fantails, Rhipidura fulginosa, on the pages prepared before August 2010 and not yet revised). Both are friendly, talkative birds who were here to greet the first human arrivals. (In case you didn't notice, there is also a pīwakawaka on this page, below the aerial photos of the garden.) The footer contains a picture of the flower of the hue (calabash gourd, lagenaria siceraria), a plant that was brought here by the first East Polynesian settlers and still grows excellently in our garden. Clicking on these images will return you to this "home" page. (I was very pleased to see that, despite the less favourable climate, our hue plants looked much more vigorous and happy than their Hawaiian counterparts that I encountered when I was in Hawaii in 2007, although I noticed some more worthy specimens in the garden at the 'Imiloa Center on the Big Island in 2010).
Clicking on any of those header or footer images on another page will bring you back to this one. There is also a "Creative Commons" copyright notice at the foot of each page which grants permission for non-commercial use of any original material on this site provided that its source is acknowledged.
You can visit the garden in cyberspace through the "Hōparatanga" menu. Real-life visitors are also welcome (especially from November to April), but by appointment only -- email us via temarareo at gmail.com it you would like to arrange a visit. Remember too that
the Waikato River forms the western boundary, and like all rural land, there may be hidden hazards, so while visitors are very welcome, they must accept full responsibility for their own safety as a condition of entry. As far as we know, however, there are no crocodiles or snakes roaming around the place -- even though there were plenty in some of the places where the plant names originated!
A WORD ABOUT FONTS
After November 2010 these pages will have Geneva, Arial, and Helvetica sans serif fonts (in that order) as the default fonts. This enables us to use characters with in-built macrons which should display properly on any computer. In the older pages, the fonts used are mostly Arial Māori and Times New Roman Māori. These will display the macron if you have those fonts installed on your computer. Otherwise, the macron will appear as an umlaut diacritic (two little dots above the vowel character). If you have the Mäori fonts installed, the macrons on both sets of pages will be displayed correctly. If you don't, the word "Māori" in the previous sentence will look like this: "Mäori".