Tapū is the level of sanctity given to anything that we do or say. Tapū brings us to a state of our own knowing. Tapū is a sense of spirituality that one is either aware or unaware of. In Te Ao Māori the more aware you are of your own spirituality the more fulfilled you are as a person. The less aware you are of yourself as a spiritual being the more you exist in a purely physical state.

The restoration of a sense of tapū acts as a deterrent to perpetrators once they understand what the violation of tapū actually means for their own sense of sanctity through their spiritual connection to the act of abuse and their victims. Tapū and restoration of a sense of tapū for victims and their whānau is also about reconnecting the spiritual element of being human with the physical, emotional and intellectual and as a result being more whole as a person and a whānau.


  • The transformative qualities of tapū are to bring perpetrators, victims, whānau, hapū and iwi to a state of recognition of themselves as interconnected spiritual beings. Tapū is not an easy construct to define. It is a construct that is experienced although not always seen in a tangible way. The pathway to healing must include the restoration of a sense of sanctity for the person and their whānau.