Friday, July 31, 2009

Making an Entrance

Opotiki, Bay of Plenty. May 2009. Ajr
When I visited Opotiki in May, on my way around East Cape, I called in to the local visitor centre to see if they could give me some information on the Maori carvings in the main street. Sadly - and surprisingly - they were unable to give me anything beyond a small mention in their Pacific Coast Highway guide, which I had already found. As if to make up for that, the man in charge talked excitedly about the new carvings at the Opotiki District Council. "They're just next door," he said. "You should have a look. We're very proud of them." And so they should be because they do make a very bold entrance statement. Sadly, he couldn't tell me anything about their derivation either. So I phoned the council myself and discovered they were carved by Heke Collier of Opotiki, who has carved a number of major works in the district including Wairaka, in the town's mainstreet (which I have featured here a few weeks back); and the beautiful carved poupou (poles/totems) at Waiotahi Beach, near Opotiki, which I will be featuring soon.

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