Kia tūpato e te iwi! The awa is at the highest level since records began in 1905. The Control Gates Bridge remains fully open.
The powerful surging currents of Te Awa o Waikato (Waikato River) are the inspiration behind its name. The name ‘Waikato’ is as much a warning as it is a recognition of the power and lifeforce that flows from it. The Waikato River is a taonga (treasure), it is a tupuna (ancestor) and it has a lifeforce of its own. Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board repeats the reminders that lie within its name – to be aware, to be careful, and to be respectful.
About the name ‘Waikato’
The name Waikato has two root components; wai; meaning water; and kato; whose meanings include ‘surging’, ‘flowing’, ‘tides’ and ‘current’. Potential translations include;
- The Surging Waters
- The Surging Currents
- The Flowing Waters
The famous mōteatea, ‘Waikato Te Awa’ includes the lyric;
“Kia tūpato rā kei tāhuri koe i ngā au kaha o Waikato”
(Take caution lest you are capsized by the Waikato River’s strong currents).
Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board reminds the public of the safety message handed down from our ancestors when they named the river.