The Legend of Tangaroa
Why Tangaroa Blue?
In Maori and Polynesian mythology, Tangaroa is the god of the ocean. Tangaroa made laws to protect the ocean and its sea creatures “Tiaki mai i ahau, maku ano koe e tiaki”… If you look after me, then I will look after you…”
One of our co-founders was a New Zealander with close family connections to a Maori Kaumatua (elder). We consulted him and his whanau (family) and a Maori artist in Wellington about why we wished to call this organisation Tangaroa Blue. This revolved around the group’s strong connection with the marine environment and the need to promote a philosophy explaining that humans can’t keep taking from our ocean environment without giving back just as much. This is our way to give back! We received their blessing to use the name, which is applied with the utmost respect and the understanding that all our oceans are connected. Across the oceans we must work together on protecting our environment for future generations. Our New Zealand co-founder sat on our Board of Directors for 10 years. Our current Board of Directors Chair is a New Zealander with a strong commitment to Indigenous people and many years’ experience working with Iwi Maori in Aotearoa.
Tangaroa Blue has previously operated in Taranaki, New Zealand and always welcomes new initiatives. We have strong connections and partnerships across the South Pacific with communities in the Cook Islands, Hawaii, Fiji, Vanuatu and PNG all using our resources, methodologies and database to work on the marine debris issue.
We work very closely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who also connect with the laws and lores of Tangaroa and strive to build a relationship between healthy freshwater and saltwater country and healthy communities.
Correct pronunciation is an important way of conveying respect for other languages. The vowel sounds in Maori are long, so that Tangaroa is pronounced more like “tongue-a-roar-ah” as the Tangaroa is an or/aw sound as opposed to an ‘oh’ sound that you get with the word ‘row’.