Sunday, May 31, 2009

Church Glass

St Mary's, Tikitiki, East Cape. May 2009. Ajr
Last week I brought you a piece about William Pepere, the kaikarakia (lay preacher) at the astonishingly beautiful Tikitiki Church at East Cape. Since it’s Sunday and the little church is ‘open for business,’ I thought I’d pay a return visit and show you some of the beautiful stained glass windows. Little St Mary’s was built by the local Ngati Porou people as a memorial to Ngati Porou soldiers who died in the World Wars. It is a fitting tribute. The outstanding carvings and tukutuku panels are second to none. I forgot to mention in last week’s blog (below) that the elaborately-carved pulpit shown in one of the photographs (scroll down to view) was a gift from the Te Arawa tribe. This exquisitely crafted church was one of my favourite discoveries on my recent trip around New Zealand.

A`Swing of Souvenirs

Queenstown. May 2009. Ajr
Souvenir Bone and Pounamu
Dangling in a Queenstown Shop Window
Catching Shadows

Saturday, May 30, 2009

One Morning on Takapau Plains

May 2009. Takapau Plains. Ajr
It was 9am on May 13th when I turned into Snee Road on the Takapau Plains in search of Rakautatahi Marae. I didn't have to go far. It was only a few hundred metres off the highway, tucked behind a big macrocarpa hedge and a thicket of harakeke (flax). Located around 6km east of Norsewood, it's home to several Ngati Kahungunu hapu - Ngati Kikirioterangi, Toroiwaho, Rangikahutia, Rangitothu, Ngai Tahu o Kahungunu and Rangitane. There wasn't a soul about when I arrived - just a farmer in a neighbouring field rounding up cows with a barking dog. The skies were dark and heavy, which added to the sense of brooding in the lichen-covered carvings.

Maori Place Names - 12

Dunedin. May 2009. Ajr
Roslyn, Maori Hill

Friday, May 29, 2009

Maori Art in the Outreaches

All photos taken in Ruatoria, East Cape. May 2009. Ajr
The tiny East Cape Maori settlement of Ruatoria may be one of the most remote and isolated communities in New Zealand but it doesn't want for bright street art. I particularly loved the paintings on this backstreet building. It was one of several that were emblazoned with colour and creativity. I very much like that in any community. It's a shame it isn't allowed to happen more often in some places.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

One Waka, Two Waka, Three Waka, More.....

Omaio, East Cape. may 2009. Ajr
I couldn't believe my eyes when I drove around the corner and into the tiny settlement of Omaio on East Cape. The 'town' itself is no more than the petrol station and store that you can see in the rear of the photograph below. What caught my eye were the waka - all drawn ashore and perched on a grassy knoll above a delicious little beach. It's not something we see down in the South Island.

Omaio, East Cape. May 2009. Ajr
I was thrilled by the photographic opportunity. But it didn't end there for, directly fronting on to the beach is the magnificent TeWhanau-a-Apanui Marae, which I'm going to bring you in another post soon. Stay tuned.It will be worth it!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Traditional Designs - 8

Etched Glass Graphics
Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Wellington. April 2009. Ajr

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Meet the People - 16

Another in the Series Meet the People – Contemporary Maori Doing Ordinary and Extraordinary Things – William Pepere (Ngati Porou), surprised me greatly when he turned the key in the lock of the rear door of St Mary’s Church, in the tiny East Cape township of Tikitiki. It was 8.30 on a Sunday morning and I had called in to see this exquisite example of traditional Maori craftsmanship. There wasn’t a soul about and, as the church’s front door was open, I thought it would be okay to sneak inside. What I discovered there took my breath away! It truly is THE most amazingly beautiful place – every interior surface a credit to superb craftsmanship. I was standing there taking in the total silence and calmness of the place and trying to etch every detail into my memory, when the front door banged suddenly and then the back door rattled. Next minute, William Pepere came in. I’m not sure which of us was more surprised.
Turns out William is the Kaikarakia, or Lay Reader for the church and he had arrived early, to prepare the church for the morning’s 9am service. We stood and chatted, he pointing out the memorial boards on one side of the church, dedicated – as in fact the whole church is – to the Ngati Porou soliders, who died in World War I. He talked about the tukutuku paneling, the ornate carving, the incredible stained glass windows – and I just stood there in awe. He told me about 1,000 people live in Tikitiki and that he is very pleased to have around twenty at his services each Sunday. I wanted to stay on be part of the service but it would have greatly encroached on my travel schedule; so instead I asked Mr Pepere if he would let me take his photograph. He agreed, switching on all the lights, so I could get better shots of the interior detailing. I left him then, as he was vacuuming the floors. He waved as I made my way out, reluctant to leave.

All Photos May 2009 Ajr
It is an understatement to say that St Mary’s at Tikitiki is one of the finest churches in New Zealand. It was built in 1924 by local Ngati Porou people and the interior was a collaboration between Ngati Porou and Te Arawa master carvers, orchestrated by Sir Apirana Ngata. For anyone with an interest in traditional Maori crafts it must be the penultimate experience! I would visit it again in a flash to once again have that incredible mixed feeling of awe and contentment that I felt there.

Maori Place Names - 11

In the Hokianga
May 2009. Ajr

Monday, May 25, 2009

Turangawaewae - An Historic House

Ngaruawahia, Waikato. April 2009. Ajr
I was deeply surprised when I came upon Turangawaewae House in centre of the little Waikato town of Ngaruawahia last month – surprised that, as a Waikato girl myself, I had never seen it before; and surprised for the startling combination of Pakeha architecture with Maori embellishment. Listed as a Historic Places Trust Category 1 property, it sits just off the main State Highway, surrounded by residential homes. It was built over a seven year period from 1912-1919 as a kauhanganui, or parliament building for the Maori King Movement, or Kingitanga Movement as it is also known. Kingitanga was founded in the 1850s and was made up of a federation of tribes who opposed the British and the growing spread of colonial settlement in the Waikato and beyond.

April 2009 Ajr
The building itself was designed by the Hamilton architectural firm, Warren and Blechynden, combining Maori and Pakeha design elements and cultural traditions. Broadly Arts and Crafts in architectural style, it includes a stunning painted door and handsome carvings by Te Motu Heta on the porch and gables – and let’s not forget the cute little guy holding up the chimney. The inside was (apparently, for I never saw) beautifully painted and featured a throne. The building though – as beautiful as it is – was rarely used for any parliamentary gatherings and by 1920, it became the meeting place for the planning of the much bigger, more traditional and even more elaborate Turangawaewae Marae, which was built on the other side of the Waikato River and eventually took over as the focus of Maori political and social activity in the region.

Ngaruawahia, Waikato. April 2009 Ajr
Turangawaewae House has since been used as a health clinic and as home to the Maori Land Court. I couldn’t quite establish if it has a current purpose beyond being a beautiful, historical reminder an important period of Maori history in New Zealand. PS. I loved the gates too.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

More From The Kete Files

Wellington. April 2009. Ajr
I love traditional and contemporary kete (baskets).
Maybe it's a female thing, or some innate domestic urge...I'm not sure and does it even matter?
I think they're all beautiful and I'd love to start collecting them - if I had the time, the money and the space. As I'm already a compulsive collector of far too many things, I am limiting my kete collection to the photographic form.

Signs of the Times

Hawai, East Cape. May 2009. Ajr
I photographed this sign - between the roadside and a gorgeous Eastland beach - just south of the little settlement of Hawai, so I'm guessing the beach is Te Whanau-a-Apanui land.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Marking Territory

Hawai, East Cape. May 2009 Ajr
I love the way so many North Island iwi (tribes) mark the borders of their tribal territory with large signs. I came upon this one in early May, the day I left Rotorua to drive around East Cape. It was just before the little beach settlement of Hawai . Te Whanau-a-Apanui land extends from Te Taumata-o-Apanui (between Torere and Hawai) as far north as Potaka, near the top of the Cape. There are 13 hapu within the tribe, which was named after the 17th century ancestor, Apanui Ringamutu, who had four wives and more than 17 children. He is represented in a carving in the contemporary marae, Te Hono ki Hawaiki, in Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand – carved by well known contemporary carver, Cliff Whiting (Te Whanau-a-Apanui). Today Te Whanau-a-Apanui has investments in forestry blocks, fisheries operations and other industries and most of their 11,808 population (2006) is based in Bay of Plenty. Their tribal authority, Te Runanga o Te Whanau is based in Opotoki.

A Sign of the Times

Tiki Boy
A Ponsonby Road Cafe
April 2009. Ajr

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Walk on the Wild Side

Image Courtesy Dart River Jet Safaris
The ancient beech forests of the Dart/Rees Track are believed to be one of the best examples worldwide, of a sub-temperate ecology dating back to prehistoric times. Certainly, when I stand in these dark, remote, moss-covered forests I have a very real sense of what the world may have been like 80 million years ago and I always keep an eye open for approaching dinosaurs. (A figment of my over-active imagination of course but I always think that if a dinosaur is going to appear anywhere, it would be somewhere like this). But if you venture into these parts with the team from Dart River Jet Safaris (owned by Ngai Tahu Tourism), you’ll be introduced to another side of this remarkable place – to the old hunting traditions of early Maori and to the myriad uses they found for many of the forest trees and plants. Take the Horopito for instance - also known as the New Zealand pepper tree – which Maori used to treat stomach ache and diarrhoea. Its leaves are known to stimulate the circulation and because of their antiseptic properties, Maori used them for skin complaints….. first steeping them in water, or chewing them beforehand. Funnily enough, it is now trendy for many New Zealand restaurants to use horopito as a natural spice marinade, or rub for assorted meat cuts. The juvenile stems of Horoeka, or Lancewood – a tree of multiple forms during its lifespan - were used to make spears; and lancewood leaves were pounded to make a brush of sorts that was used in rock painting.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Maori in the Far North

Matai Bay, Karikari Peninsula, Northland. April 2009. Ajr
When I visited the Karikari Peninsula in the Far North over 30 years ago, there was nothing there but beautiful, empty beaches. I don’t think we saw another single person in all the time we were there. I returned to the Peninsula during my recent scamper around the North Island for Frommers and I was dismayed to discover that everyone else has now discovered it too. It had to happen I suppose but how discouraging to see that there are holiday homes everywhere and huge housing estates (with street lamps!) under construction! I stayed at Carrington, which is part of a 3,000 acre estate owned by an American. It would be fair to say that some of the better tourism developments – the new roads for instance – are largely attributed to him and his development of Carrington, its international golf course and Karikari Estate Winery. And to be fair, he has consulted with nearby Maori landowners. Just one example is the fact that every one of the eighteen holes on the golf course features a traditional carving created by local master carver, Hector Busby. (I’ll be bringing some of those to you soon).
But the point of all this waffling - while I was on the peninsular, I headed out to the end of the public road – to Matai Bay, which is a beautiful double-sided bay featuring two beautiful horseshoe beaches. Thankfully, there, nothing has been developed because this is Maori land and but for a tiny cluster of Maori-owned houses on the green hillocks above the bay (some flying Maori flags), there isn’t a dwelling in sight. Long may it stay that way! You can’t get right out to the very end of the peninsular – not without permission of the Maori landowners at least – and you get the feeling that isn’t obviously forthcoming. I guess you just have to know the right people to ask, not to mention having a very good reason for wanting to go there. As to the iwi owning the land? I’m not entirely sure but I’m guessing it might be one of the Ngati Kahu hapu. If anyone knows for sure, please feel free to leave a comment.

Catching Crays

At Auckland Museum. April 2009. Ajr
This was how the Maori caught koura (crayfish) in the old days. I photographed this beautiful piece – Taruke (Ngati Maru, Thames)” at Auckland Museum. They have a superb collection of Maori carvings and artefacts. This craypot is made from “young manuka stems bent around a supplejack and manuka frame and tied together with harakeke (flax) and vines.”

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Down by the Lake

Lake Taupo. April 2009. Ajr
Waitetoko Marae sits on the southern shores of Lake Taupo in the little settlement of Te Rangiita, just north of Turangi. I came upon it early in the morning as I was driving from Turangi to Auckland. Nobody was about. I found it a very restful spot - beside a stream with a lush backdrop of pine trees. I haven't been able to find out much about it sadly, so I'm going to take a wild guess and suggest that it belongs to one of the Tuwharetoa hapu - perhaps one of the Te Matapuna grouping, who live at the south end of Lake Taupo. But perhaps I'm wrong. Maybe there is a Te Arawa connection? I'd love to hear from anyone who knows for sure - just leave a comment for me

Lake Taupo. April 2009. Ajr
I particularly loved this gorgeous little red-roofed church that sat to one side of the marae itself, neatly enclosed by a classic white picket fence.

Maori Place Names - 10

Paraekaretu Street
Hunterville, Central North Island.
April 2009 Ajr

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Meet the People - 15

Lillian Hetet-Owen. April 2009 Ajr
Another in the Series Meet the People – Contemporary Maori Doing Ordinary and Extraordinary Things – Lillian Hetet-Owen (Te Ati Awa/Hapu:Hamua; Ngati Maniapoto; Ngati Tuwharetoa), of Lower Hutt, needs little introduction. She comes from a highly regarded family that has given us a legacy of five generations of creativity. Lillian manages the Maori Treasures Complex at Waiwhetu, in Lower Hutt, which was set up by her parents, Master Carver Rangi Hetet and his wife, internationally regarded weaver, Erenora Puketapu-Hetet, who passed away in 2006. Rangi Hetet is the last surviving member of a special group of carvers known as Konae Aronui; and the late Erenora, was made an Officer of the NZ Order of Merit in 2002 for services to weaving. Erenora had learned the finely detailed craft of feather korowai (cloak) weaving, from her mother-in-law, Rangimarie Hetet. Today, several members of the extended family all participate in the making of traditional Maori arts and crafts. According to Lillian, the family aim – and the aim of the Maori Treasures Complex – is to develop, maintain and promote the Maori art traditions that they have inherited from their ancestors. “We aim to produce and develop cultural products that demonstrate the essence and spirit of Maori in our region,” she says. “My mother always wanted her pupils to teach at least one other person so we could keep traditions alive. It has been a privilege growing up here and it is a privilege to be able to share it with new students and national and international visitors,” say Lillian.
"Tu Tangata" A feathered Korowai by Erenora Puketapu-Hetet - a patchwork representing all iwi of NZ. Ajr
The making of a feather bag using the Whatu technique. Ajr
The day I visited Maori Treasures to meet Lillian, she was busy being interviewed for a television documentary but she still made time to sit with me and talk about the rich legacy her family is responsible for. We sat in the gallery – filled with exciting works both traditional and contemporary; and she took me through the carving and weaving studios to look at some of the exquisite cloaks that her mother made. Lillian is also an owner of the two Koha shops in Lower Hutt; and she oversees students attending the complex’s weaving and carving studios, which are linked to the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand.

'Te Maori' The Waiwhetu Cultural Centre designed by Athfield Architects, Wellington. Ajr
Waiwhetu Marae, Lower Hutt. April 2009. Ajr
The Maori Treasures Complex is located in a converted house that sits among 60 others in the Maori settlement that snuggles in around Waiwhetu Marae, the Cultural Centre, radio station, a Kohanga Reo and the offices of Te Runanga nui o Taranaki Whanui ki te Upoko o te Ika a Maui. The Waiwhetu area has been settled by Te Ati Awa people since the 1830s. The Waiwhetu Marae was built in 1960 and continues to be the focal point of community activity.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Architectural Design Motifs

Rotorua May 2009 Ajr
One of my favourite Rotorua buildings is the Visitor Information Centre, which was once the town’s Post Office. It was built in 1914 by the Snell Brothers of Hamilton to replace the original Post Office.

Rotorua. May 2009 Ajr
It’s a magnificent example of Tudor architecture and I love the Maori design motifs that have been incorporated into its fa├žade.


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