Te Kanawa House is located on the northern side of the school, however, it still leads a little closer to Hilliary House. The house is named after the famous New Zealand opera singer Kiri Te Kanawa, who officially opened the house herself in 1987. Te Kanawa House prides themselves with their dark blue colour, in relation to their house mascot, the Taniwha. 

The colour blue is mostly connected to more negative emotions. But, it can signify much more than just being sad.

“It’s one of the purest forms of light a human eye can see.”

-Year 12 Te Kanawa student

Blue symbolises freedom, open space, and open opportunities. The colour blue is a historical one, relating to the natural world that we surround ourselves in. For example, the dark blue resonates with the sea that surrounds the Macleans College campus, and the night sky after dark. But, what does blue mean to Te Kanawa’s own students?


– Alan, Year 9 Te Kanawa student

Te Kanawa’s pupils seem to be pretty patriotic and powerful at the very least, with their own mascot regarded as a “monster of the deep” in Māori mythology. The history of the Taniwha runs deep throughout the house’s history, and so does the person it was named after.

Kiri Te Kanawa.

Kiri Te Kanawa is a well-known opera singer from New Zealand, who began her star like career in 1965. Born in 1944, Kiri Te Kanawa lived her childhood in Gisborne. Te Kanawa was adopted by an Irish mother and a Māori father. She won several awards throughout her younger years, and soon after the late 1900s, Te Kanawa began her international saga of representing the country. In 1987, she opened Te Kanawa House, opening another whānau for Macleans students to reside in. 

Te Kanawa House overlooks the entire field and out to the beach, reflecting the ocean’s colour and their past.

21st July, 2023
Emma Li
Photography by Serena Jiang

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