Wednesday, August 19, 2009

One Sunny Day in the North

It was a gorgeous morning on May 1st the day I drew to a stop outside Te Uri o Hina Marae at Pukepoto, on the road from Kaitaia to Ahipara in the far north of the North Island. It’s one of twenty-three marae in the Rohe o Te Rarawa, which covers a large area from Hokianga Harbour inland to Mangamuka, up to Awanui and part way up Ninety Mile Beach. Te Rarawa is one of the six Muriwhenua tribes – Ngati Kuri, Ngai Takoto, Te Patu, Ngati Kahu, Te Aupouri and Te Rarawa - who populate the Far North.

What most intrigued me here was the carving above the door of the wharehui, Hohou Te Rongo, which you can see in part in one of the images here (complete with resting swallow) and in its entirety on the wharehui in the top set of images. There is one remarkably similar to it in Auckland Museum, dated from 1400. The museum carving was thought to be a door lintel but experts now believe it may have been a roof decoration. It was found at Lake Tangonge, near Kaitaia, in the heart of Te Rarawa territory.

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