Monday, June 22, 2009

Tokoroa's Talking Poles

I used to live in Tokoroa long ago – back in the days when I was a cadet journalist on the South Waikato News. That was long before the town’s Talking Poles came into being. They’ve been springing up since Tokoroa started sprucing itself up in 1998 and now there’s over 34 of them around the central shopping area. I had to stop in Tokoroa to get petrol on my recent Frommers New Zealand road trip, so I took the opportunity to photograph a few of them.
Tokoroa. April 2009. Ajr
Tokoroa is the second largest town in the Waikato with a population of around 15,000 (I think) and 35% of it is Maori. It is said to be named after the great chief, Tokoroa of the Ngati Kahupungapunga tribe, who was slain during a battle. The town also has the largest Pacific Island community outside Auckland and Wellington – and you can see both influences in the carved poles – pou in Maori. They’re certainly a mixed bag when it comes to carving style – this no doubt to reflect the mutli-cultural nature of the people living there.

1 comment:

  1. I grew up in Tokoroa, left in 1982, well before the spruce-up kicked off. Much bigger influence of tikanga throughout the community nowadays, to be sure!!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin