All whānau have disagreements, but there are ways these can be resolved peacefully. Tatau pounamu symbolises a doorway towards peace.

Traditionally, was a peace agreement between warring hapū and iwi. would hui and negotiate with the two parties to try to close the door on past troubles and build new relationships. Some tatau pounamu involved gifts of , perhaps a greenstone mere, to bring about lasting peace.

A tatau pounamu might help today to support and guide tamariki, especially at times when their behaviour is challenging and is upsetting or frustrating their whānau. It works best to negotiate whānau limits and boundaries when everyone is calm.

Peaceful relationships

Just like our , we want our relationships to be peaceful and lasting. The aim of our tatau pounamu is to make peace –  te rongo. So if there has been , it’s important to restore the calm. Whānau can show their tamariki that talking about problems can help, as well as looking for better ways to address any arguments in the future. Love, warmth and gentle guidance helps keep everyone’s mana intact.


  • Āta kōrero – be clear in your instructions.
  • Āta whakarongo – listen carefully.

Considering the issues

Tatau pounamu at an individual whānau level does not mean that gifts must be exchanged so peace can reign. It might mean making time to think and talk about the issues or challenges facing the whānau and affecting their relationships. Whether the problems are between the parents themselves, or between them and their tamariki, or the extended whānau, anything that affects the wellbeing of the mokopuna deserves attention.

Influencing mokopuna

At this age mokopuna are listening and watching and taking their cues from the people around them about how to behave. They will be noticing if the kōrero around them is negative, or the behaviour is aggressive or antagonistic.

Being able to make peace, forgive and move on, however difficult it may feel at the time, can be beneficial in the long term. Whānau are showing their tamariki that no problem is so big that it can’t be helped by open and honest kōrero. The symbol of the tatau pounamu can simply be a visual reminder of the commitments made towards peace within the whānau.

Whāia te iti kahurangi, ki te tuohu koe me he maunga teitei.

Pursue that which is precious, and do not be deterred by anything less than a lofty mountain.

Conversation ideas

What would it feel like to have this traditional practice of tatau pounamu in our lives today?
How would it feel to ‘close the door’ on past troubles?
How do you create peaceful relationships in your whānau?
How could we negotiate a peace agreement – hohou te rongo, and include tamariki?
How do you restore calm after a raruraru?
What are the things you do to calm yourself and others?
What are ways to keep your own and everyone else’s mana intact during tough times?
Who are the natural peace-keepers in the whānau?
What concerns you about raruraru when it happens?
How would you like it to be in your home? What could you do to make that happen?

Helpful resources for whānau