Vodafone Aotearoa Foundation takes a new name, Te Rourou

Lani Evans, Head of the Foundation, explains why this new name embodies the vision of an Aotearoa where all rangatahi thrive

Yesterday, as part of our Matariki celebrations, we proudly announced the Vodafone Foundation’s brand new name: Te Rourou, Vodafone Aotearoa Foundation.

It’s a beautiful new name, and one that we believe reflects where we are, who we are and who we are striving to be. It’s a name that will help us embody the spirit and the intention of our vision – to create a more equitable Aotearoa for rangatahi.

The first part of our name, Te Rourou, comes from the rourou, a woven basket that is used to store or carry food. The Foundation has chosen to adopt this name as we liken the work we do to providing a resource that ‘nourishes the people’. Te Rourou also refers to a well-known whakataukī (proverb) that speaks of collaboration and shared contribution:

“Näu te rourou, näku te rourou, ka ora te iwi.”
With your food basket and mine, the people will thrive.

Symbolically, by adopting the name Te Rourou, we are drawing parallels to our Mäori development strategy, Whärikihia. The goal of Whärikihia is to weave Vodafone closer to Aotearoa, and the imagery of weaving is synonymous with a whäriki (a tapestry or mat) and rourou (a food basket).

March 28, 2017 Murupara, New Zealand. A woman learns the ancient craft of weaving bracelets from palm leaves at New Zealand’s Lake Aniwhenua.


The second part of our name change shifts us from New Zealand to Aotearoa. There are many reasons for this shift. It celebrates Te Reo Mäori, one of our three official languages and it aligns with where we have moved as Vodafone. But for me, what resonates most strongly, is a statement made by lawyer and activist Tina Ngata, who said that the shift from New Zealand to Aotearoa “…is a healing act of anti-racism, affirming the story that there were people living here before colonisation happens.”

Te Rourou, Vodafone Aotearoa Foundation is a name that represents both who we are, and more importantly, who we strive to become. Join us in celebrating this new era in the Foundation’s long history.