About Us


The club is named Te Arawa to pay homage to our cultural heritage. Named after the Arawa waka with reference to the tribal area in the saying “Mai I Maketū ki Tongariro, Ko Te Arawa te waka”. It is an expression of physical boundaries that iwi utilise when identifying to their whenua, and the name given to the waka which brought ancestors here from Hawaiki. 

The waka Te Arawa overcame many obstacles on its journey to Aotearoa. During the voyage they had a perilous encounter with the great ocean creature, Te Parata, who almost swallowed them. However, they were delivered from the jaws of certain death by a mythical great shark, and the people renamed the canoe and themselves Te Arawa in its honour. 

Today Te Arawa Swimming Club draws strength from the shark (who is widely admired for how it fights fearlessly to the end) to inspire our swimmers in accordance with the well-known whakatauki (proverbial saying) “Okea ururoa, kei mate wheke.” Roughly translated to mean keep fighting and strive like the shark rather than die like the octopus.

The Te Arawa Swimming Hammerhead Shark (Mangōpare) was originally designed by Dallas Hawe (Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Pikiao - Te Arawa). Our Hammerhead features predominately in our branding and the swimmers uniform to represent strength, leadership, agility, tenacity, unrelenting determination and courage.

The club appreciates the support from Te Arawa kaumatua and leaders who back in 2014 when we embarked on this journey, gave their blessing for the club to carry this prestigious name.