Representing the body of a tupuna, or ancestor, the whare is built with great symbolism. An explanation of some of the inside parts whare named in the picture, are below.
The tahuhu running the full length of the whare represents the spine of the ancestor.
The heke running off the tahuhu on both sides represent the ribs.
In the fully carved whare, the walls are adorned with poupou or carvings as well as tukutuku, or woven panels.
The poupou represent the history, in relation to the ancestor, whose whare it is.
The tukutuku represent the stories of life.
The positioning of each is also important, as the poupou opposite each other are connected through the heke, the tukutuku on each side of a poupou are also related. Learning to read a whare will open up an extrodinary history book.
So the next time you enter a fully carved whare, stop, pause and be aware, that you are entering into a living history book.