Haeata – the meaning behind your name

I wanted to write this post about your name Haeata.  I also wanted to talk about the strength of woman (in particular your Mama).  This has been an amazing week (the week you were born) for so many reasons.  It has also been a really trying week.  So many different things happening in our lives.  As I reflect on these moments I can’t help but think about perspective and the way we look at life.  Perspective is so important and this will make more sense as I go through this story.

My two beautiful boys

The strength of a woman

Woman hold the whare tangata (the birthplace).  This has always been sacred to our people and is why we must always respect woman.

Both of Mama’s births have not been easy.  For you Haeata, it was very difficult for Mama.  You wanted to come into this world so fast.  To watch your wife in so much pain is difficult for anyone to watch.  My eyes welled with tears feeling the agony Mama was going through.  Her contraction was endless with you pushing hard to come into the world, her body strained and she cried in agony.  The contraction came so quickly that no one was ready, and Mama couldn’t even ask for pain relief as everyone rushed to bring you into the world.   Fifty five minutes after Mama’s water had broken, you were here.

When you were born

Like your brother, you were not breathing straight away.  Mama was losing blood and our room filled with doctors and nurses.  I stood there stunned in disbelief.  A story  similar to Rakeiora.  For you, it wasn’t long before you were breathing again, but Mama’s journey continued.  As I sat and watched I thought of how I could have done more to let Mama know I loved her, I was so unsure of what was going to happen and I was scared I would lose her.

Never miss a moment in your life boys to tell people you care for them.  To sit in a room and feel the life-force of the people you love diminish is not the time to think I should have said this, or done more of that.

None of this is your fault son. Mama’s body had decided this is how it was going to work but it is important for you both to know how strong a woman is.  To understand the sacrifice that every woman makes when they decide to bring life into this world.

Choosing a name

In the early hours of Tuesday 4 April before your birth, Mama started having contractions.  She turned to me and asked me to get ready to head to the hospital.  As we walked outside to put our bags in the car, I couldn’t believe the beauty of the sky.  A massive weather system was moving into New Zealand, but the sky was clear with signs of the coming storm being shown in Te kohi o Autahi (the clouds that show before a storm).  As I looked at the night sky I started recalling some of the stars that our ancestors used for navigation and I noticed the beam of Autahi (Canopus).  For me, this was a sign.

Choosing a name in our culture doesn’t come around lightly.  For both of you, Mama and I chose to wait to see what name felt right once you were born.  Traditionally, a name was given at the time the pito (umbilical cord) is cut.  When you were born, the name that came to both Mama and I when we saw you was ‘Haeata’.  The meaning behind your name, ‘ Te Haeata o Autahi’ means ‘the beaming light of Autahi’.  For both Mama and I, this seemed to represent you and your entry into the world well.


Why this name?


Haeata – This was a name that Mama came up with as it is another version of Awatea, which is a name that Mama has always liked but for a girl.  Clearly, you were a boy, so this name seemed to have an immediate connection.  There were also little signs along the way that engrained this name more.  It was written in a second hand book that Mama had pulled out and she happened to see it out of the corner of her eye.  When looking through a Māori dictionary one day, the first page that the book opened to started with ‘Hae’.  Sometimes, things don’t just happen, they’re signs and we felt like these were definite signs that Haeata should be your name.  Haeata can be translated as sunrise or a beam of light.  Though you weren’t born at sunrise, you are a definite beam of light.  We feel truly lucky that you have joined us – we never thought there was a likelihood we would have two children.  So to us, you too are like a sunrise that we would have never known.


Autahi – The more we looked into the stars, the more we found meaning and a connection to the name Autahi.  There is a relationship between Rehua (Sirius), which is also one of your brothers’ names and Autahi.  This was also a star that was known to stand alone and prefer to be an individual.  For this reason, Autahi was also known as father of the sky.  Ironically, when we asked Rakeiora what you should be called, he said ‘Matua Rangi’.  Where on earth this name came from we don’t know, but, a translation of this could be ‘father of the sky’.

I believe this name suits you son for all the strength that you have shown to be here today.  For Mama and I, you have been a guiding star who even before you came guided our journey in life.  It is important in life to have the strength to stand strong when others try to challenge your resolve.


Perspective is important sons.  There are many ways to look at sets of events.  Both of your births were difficult for Mama, but all Mama sees are her beautiful boys – nothing else matters to her.

While we were in hospital our home flooded again.  There is such a lack of responsibility by people who should be trying to rectify the issues that flooded our home, including the storm water system which is not existent so that this type of thing doesn’t happen again.  But right now I feel for others who are now going through the same reality that we did and I hope that people who are given the privilege of making decisions on our behalf, use that privilege to stop this from happening.  I could be angry, but that will get me nowhere.  My perspective is helping me with this, instead of destroying my will.


Not as bad as last time, but still avoidable.

My message for this one boys is always respect woman, know who you are and where you come from, and things are always a matter of perspective.


The meaning of your name ‘Rakeiora – Adorn life’

A name has large significance to Maori as does the importance of respecting woman. This post talks about all of these things as well as the importance of perspective in situationsClick To Tweet

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  1. What a lovely meaning…I can attest that the second one does come a lot faster! I am glad that both baby and wife are doing well 🙂

  2. Wow what an amazing story, and a wonderful one to share with your boys as they get older and understand the meaning behind it all. I’m sorry for your difficult and painful births, but so glad you have two beautiful sons to show for it. I am also sorry to hear about the flooding. I hope you have the help and support you need. Thank you for this perspective.

  3. I love when you share the meaning behind your boys’ names. Its so neat to hear about it, the meaning, the reason behind it!

  4. What a beautiful story of strength and tradition. A name is so important to a young person. It’s nice that you put so much weight behind choosing the meaning.

  5. Such beauty in a father helping his sons know the strength and beauty in both genders and roles. Love to your family!

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