Poutama Screens

The large screens that hang down from the roof over the colonnades down both sides of the Aldersgate Great Hall are made of punched metal, but have been designed to echo the traditional, woven tukutuku panels that often line marae (meeting house) walls. 

In particular, the stepped Poutama design used in the Aldersgate panels is sometimes referred to as the ‘stairway to heaven’ pattern, and has significant spiritual and social meanings. It traditionally symbolises genealogies and also the various levels of learning and achievement – the growth of humanity, striving ever-upward for the best we can be. It comes from the mythical origins of Māori society, symbolising the spiritual power of Tāne Mahuta or Tāwhaki (the god of humanity and the forest domain), and his climb to the top-most heavens to bring back sacred knowledge for Māori and humanity, with challenges at each level before he succeeded. 

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