Keeping precious things and making a waka hui to store them in.

Ahakoa he iti, he pounamu – Although small, it is precious, like greenstone.

This whakataukī reminds us that something doesn’t have to be big and expensive to be considered taonga (a treasure). Beauty from within nature, a loving touch, or small acts of kindness are often valued more by whānau than material possessions.

People can value unexpected things as treasures and worthy of keeping. Talking about these precious things with whānau can be very interesting for both parties.

Sharing about meaningful things can give an insight into a person’s life and background. It can also stir up memories and emotions for the person talking about their taonga.

It could be helpful to talk with whānau about

  • taonga or keepsakes for their pēpi
  • what they might want to keep now and in the future
  • making a waka huia (treasure box) for their baby.

Examples of taonga

Taonga don’t have to be financially valuable, they can be anything – an old photo, a note, a lock of hair, a newspaper clipping and so on.

You might carry something in your pocket or wallet that you consider a taonga. Many people carry photos of whānau members in their wallet, or wear a piece of jewellery that belonged to another whānau member and has sentimental value.

In the Whakatipu booklet Te Kākano, on page 19, it talks about waka huia, the traditional Māori treasure container. Look at this page with whānau and talk about things they might consider important and want to keep in a waka huia for their pēpi.

Ask the whānau

  • What taonga or treasures do you have from your whānau?
  • Do you have any items from your childhood?
  • In your view, what makes something a taonga?
  • If we made a waka huia now, what might you put in it for pēpi?

Also in Te Kākano, on page 23, there are suggestions for making a waka huia to hold treasures for pēpi. This could become the first heirloom for their pēpi.


  • a container or shoebox, coloured paper
  • scissors, glue, sticky tape
  • natural resources such as shells, harakeke, wood
  • other art supplies or items to decorate the waka huia.

How does this relate to Tākai resources?

Baby wall frieze – Kōrero mai, e aroha ana koe ki ahau – tell me you love me

Six things children need – Te ārahi me te māramatanga – guidance and understanding

Helpful resources for whānau