Awatapu College Emblem
The wings stand for the three main stages of early life:
• learning to fly
• being able to fly under supervision
• finally being ready to fly alone
The half-circle underneath indicates a rocking position to remind us that life is not always stable.
The V for victory reminds us to work for personal achievement.
The rainbow under the college name reminds us there is always some colour around us if we are willing to look for it.
The naming of a new school is a serious business. Awatapu was chosen because it was on the site of the ancient lagoon and of an expanding city subdivision. It was an ancient name which celebrated some forgotten event in the history of the tangata whenua, the Rangitane people, whose ancestors had for hundreds of years padded along the bush tracks or splashed up the creek from the river to enjoy the bounty of Awatapu. Unless the name was used it would certainly soon be lost.
[Excerpts from "The First Ten Years 1976-1985" H.J. (Pat) Whitwell]
Awatapu College is a relatively new school, opening in 1976, but its site has an interesting history. Awatapu started life as an oxbow lake on the Manawatu River. Later it became a lagoon, providing food and shelter to members of the Maori of Rangitane. It also provided food for a myriad of sandflies, eels, pukeko, wood pigeons and many other birds.
A parata is the head or front of a canoe. When a canoe is launched the Parata is the first part of the canoe that touches the water as it breaks. The Maori believe that the parata has the power to control the tides by pulling in and letting out water as required. The taonga has a special meaning to the school and its students. The students learn by drawing in what the school teaches and share these skills and knowledge with others in the community.
The half circle on which the school monogram rests represents the rising sun. This together with the rays of the sun above it, symbolises the beginning of learning. The spirals or takarangi, meaning drifting clouds on each side of the monogram represent the struggle and effort, the pain and the joy of school life. Students are represented by carved figures facing out on both sides. They acquire knowledge at school in order to share it with others. The carved face at the top represents the Principal of the school who overlooks the running of the school. The spirals on both sides of the Principal are traditional designs on the front of a war canoe, and its Principal, the Captain who leads, guides, directs and controls its movements.
The Legend of Okatia
In ancient times amidst the slopes of Puketoi, there grew a huge Totara tree. This was indeed no ordinary tree. This Totara was far taller than all other trees of the forest. But far more than this, this tree was the dwelling place of an Atua whose name was Okatia.
One day there began a rumble from within this tree. The head of the tree began to whirl round and round. The Atua Okatia grew increasingly restless with his desire to journey to the sea.
The Origin of the Manawatu River
When the Rangitāne people stepped from prehistory into history in the nineteenth century, their tribal domain comprised almost the entire drainage basin of the Manawatu River, including its tributaries on both sides of the Tararua-Ruahine mountain chain. The most conspicuous natural feature in this area was the Manawatu Gorge, known to the Rangitāne as Te Apiti (the cleft, or gorge). The stretch of river plunging through the gorge was known as Te Au-rere-a-te-tonga (the flowing current of the south) and Te Au-nui-a-tonga (the great south current) was the name of the waterfall. In the middle of the gorge is a great red rock known to Rangitāne as Te Ahu a Turanga, which is also the name of the saddle a little north of the gorge. The rock was a tapu thing and was said to be visible even in the highest floods.