See also http://christchurchcitylibraries.com/Heritage/Photos/Libraries/Central/TukutukuPanels/panel-04.asp
See also http://christchurchcitylibraries.com/Heritage/Photos/Libraries/Central/TukutukuPanels/panel-07.asp
See also http://christchurchcitylibraries.com/Heritage/Photos/Libraries/Central/TukutukuPanels/panel-09.asp

Why the poutama (stairway to heaven)?

The tukutuku above shows the stepped poutama pattern. It symbolises the growth of man, striving ever upwards.
In meeting houses, the panels are usually mirror imaged (a reflection) so that the steps climb upwards from both sides to reach the top at the centre. The poutama (step-like pattern) has both religious and educational meanings. The steps symbolise levels of attainment and advancement. At one time, the poutama was the only pattern used in tukutuku.

This pattern represents the staircase that the god Tane climbed to heaven to get the three baskets of knowledge for the Maori people. Tane is the god who pushed father sky and mother earth apart, so that sunlight could come between them, and thus plants and animals could grow. After he had created food, Tane created man. Tane felt that man needed knowledge too so he set out to find this knowledge. Tane climbed the highest staircase to heaven and it was there that he found the three baskets (kete) of knowledge that he brought back for man.

The Three Baskets of Knowledge are:
1. Te Kete Uruuru Tau Aronui - containing wisdom, building, arts and agriculture.
2. Te Kete Uruuru Matua Tuauri - containing ancient rites and ceremonies
3. Te Kete Uruuru Rangi Tuatea - containing the knowledge of incantations, war, magic, and the tradition which includes the history of the Maori people.

Level 4: The Stairway to Heaven (Poutama) Pattern

Stairway to Heaven (Poutama) Pattern Photo.jpg

Square paper with Poutama Pattern

The Poutama Pattern Worksheet

The Poutama Worksheet Answers

Level 3: The Stairway to Heaven (Poutama) Pattern (version 2)

Poutama pattern 1 photo.jpg

Square Paper for the Poutama Pattern (version 2)

The Poutama Pattern (version 2) worksheet

The Poutama Pattern (version 2) worksheet Answers