Meanings of the Word Wangapeka by Tarchin Hearn


Wangapeka Word-Play

Wangapeka Educational Trust
I roll the words on my lips and tongue,
savoring the magical meanings revealed anew
in the shifting patterns
of dancing wholeness,
this arising knowing
that is all of us.

In Māori, Wangapeka means ‘valley of the ferns’. I’ve also heard it translated as, a ‘learning corner of the area’. Given the presence of bracken in the valley, I can understand the ‘fern’ part. However, I confess a liking for ‘learning corner’. Sometimes for fun, I have contemplated Wangapeka as if it were a Tibetan or Sanskrit word. Wang is short for wangkur meaning empowerment. Ga is from gaté which is the verb for coming, going and being. Pe, the short form of phat, is the mantra for cutting through delusion. And ka is the wide open space of knowing.

an ongoing empowerment
that cuts through delusion
and leads into a wide open space of knowing;
a learning corner of the area.
How extraordinary to find this
in a South Island valley of bracken!

If ‘education’ was a Buddhist term, it might derive from e plus dukkhara; to lead out of dukkha! In Sanskrit du usually indicates something bad or dysfunctional. Kha is the sound of the crow as it flies through space. Kha, kha, khaaaaaa . . . so dukkha is a dysfunctional space, a place of struggle, a place of dissatisfaction and suffering. Of course, ‘education’ is an English word which derives from the Latin ducere, ductum, to lead and ‘e’ which indicates direction outward. Ductum also happens to be associated with aqueduct, viaduct, conduct, deduct, and conducive. Good education is conducive to flow. It is some sort of living structure that facilitates crossing the dips and valleys in our lives.

leading out from a less functional space
into a place of love and understanding;
into a place of greater knowing/experiencing.

Although the ‘Trust’ part of our name, defines a legal status, being a N.Z. registered charity, the human experience of trust opens into love and empathy and a deepening recognition of one’s interconnectedness with everything. In Buddhism the word for trust is saddha. A worthy aspiration; to have education in groundedness, love and trust.


And so, the ordinary is revealed as extraordinary; the name of both an organization and a process that has touched, and continues to touch, the lives of so many beings.

Sarva Mangalam
© Tarchin Hearn 08/11

For 40 years Tarchin has studied and practiced in both Theravadin and Mahayana schools of Buddhism. For 12 years he was ordained as a monk. Since 1977 he has taught in many countries and has helped establish a number of centres for retreat and healing. Tarchin is an Elder of the Wangapeka. Tarchin has recently finished an essay called ‘Education and Buddhadharma’ which can be found at