Sunday, January 31, 2010

Reflecting on St Faiths

This is one of my favourite shots of St Faith's Church in the lakeside settlement of Ohinemutu at Rotorua. I've taken dozens of photographs of this are and you'll see plenty more by clicking on either St Faith's Church or Ohinemutu in the label line below this post. In fact, if you scroll down, you'll see I've written a number of successive Ohinemutu posts this week.

Church Glass

I'm a big fan of churches. From an architectural point of view, they're one of my regular photographic subjects and when it comes to Maori churches, there is so much more to be inspired by. One of the largest and most ornate is St Faith's Anglican Church on the banks of Lake Rotorua at Ohinemutu in Rotorua itself.
Te Hahio o Te Whakaporo
The Church of the Faith

I love that almost every available surface is decorasted - either carved, painted or woven; and that the windows are embellished with beautiful Maori designs.

One of the most distinctive features at St Faith's is the Galilee Chapel Window, which features a life-size figure of Christ wearing a kiwi feather korowai (cloak). The figure is sandblasted on plate glass and by virtue of its placement, it appears as though Christ is walking on the waters of Lake Rotorua behind the church.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Visiting Tarukenga

I was on my way to Rotorua – not far from it in fact – when I spotted the sign pointing to Tarukenga Marae, just off State Highway 5, northwest of Rotorua, near Ngongotaha. I didn’t have far to go. Just a few hundred metres down the short side road I came to the cluster of houses that makes up Tarukenga and there, sitting on the brow of hill, against a backdrop of flax bushes, was Tarukenga Marae.

As usual, there was no one about, although I did get the very distinct feeling that I was being watched as I got out of my car to take a couple of exterior photographs of the marae setting. It’s home to the Ngati Te Ngakau/Ngati Tura hapu of Te Arawa iwi and the beautifully embellished wharenui (meeting house) is Te Ngakau, the whare kai, Hinetai.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Beside the Lake

The small Maori community of Ohinemutu at Rotorua, is one of my favourite Maori places. Nestled into a small hillock on the banks of Lake Rotorua, it's a place of mood, culture and geothermal activity - a fascinating combination that usually sees me spending hours there on any visit to Rotorua. Apart from the fistful of houses, the narrow streets and the magnificent St Faith's Church, you'll also find some stunning examples of Maori carving - these two shots taken at the beautiful wharenui (meeting house) that dominates the main marae complex. I've posted many shots taken at Ohinemutu - just click on the name in the label line below this post to see more.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

From the Kete Files

Harakeke = Flax = Phormium tenax
This common plant (in NZ) was considered by early Maori, to be one of the most valuable non-food products in pre-European times. Maori identified and recognised numerous flax varieties, which they used to make different items. Aside from its use in the making of intricate korowai (cloaks), it was - and still is - most commonly used to weave kete (baskets or kits). The design, size and colour of a kete (and the material used; they are also woven from the leaves of cabbage tree and nikau palm) are as varied as the people making them. I love that about them - that variety and the way the express the individual weaver or artist. In fact, it's fair to say I have a thing about kete. For me they are riddled with connotations of domesticity, handcrafts, food, gathering - all the things I love; and I love photographing them whenever I come upon them. I snapped these ones at the Ngai Tahu Hui-a-Tau in Southland last November.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Books, Books and More Books

I’ve been collecting old books on matters Maori again. The first is A Dictionary of Maori Place Names by A.W.Reed and illustrated by James Berry. Published in 1961, it lists New Zealand place names and gives a concise meaning. Little ink sketches are a quirky addition. Tangata Whenua – The World of Maori is by D.M Stafford and was published by Reed in 1996. I guess in that regard it doesn’t really qualify as ‘old’ but it’s filled with good illustrations and some interesting facts. Last but least is a small boxed collection of leaflets on The Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand’s founding document. Over 500 Maori chiefs and representatives of the British Crown signed the Treaty in 1840. The leaflets the story of the Treaty, it’s journey and timeline – an excellent backgrounder to a document that still colours the political and cultural climate of this country.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Maori Place Names - 47

Whitianga Marae
East Cape, North Island
May 2009. Ajr

Monday, January 25, 2010

One Waka, One Lake

A Rare Sight
One Waka
Crossing the lake
Clearwater Estate, Christchurch

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Traditional Designs - 15

Bags For Sale
At Kaiapoi Christmas Parade Day
December 2009. Ajr

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Maori Proverbs - 3

Maori Proverbs - He Whakatauaki
He kotuku rerenga tahi
The white heron is a bird of one flight
(A rare visitor)
From The Reed Pocket Dictionary of Modern Maori by P.M. Ryan

Friday, January 22, 2010

A Note Regarding Photographs

To the people downloading my images - you know who you are (and I know who you are too because I track downloading on this site), please stop. As it clearly states on this blog, all text and images are copyrighted, either to myself, or to those who have generously donated me the use of their images (which are duly credited), and you do not have permission to download them. I'm flattered that you think they are nice enough to keep, but note that you are in breach of copyright laws. - Adrienne Rewi.

A Museum Piece

The Maori adze, or toki, was a woodworking tool, usually made of a hard stone fastened to a wooden handle. The most prized were made of pounamu (greenstone). This early example is one I photographed at Auckland Museum. It was found near Hamilton and is made from greywacke stone. Regional construction styles were common.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

From the Kete Files

Woven Kete
Hui-a-Tau, Colac Bay, Southland
November 2009 Ajr

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Maori Place Names - 46

Ohinemutu, Rotorua
May 2009. Ajr

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Meet the People - 27

Another in the Series Meet the People - Contemporary Maori Doing Ordinary and Extraordinary Things - Rob Martin (Ngai Tahu, Ngati Mahaki) never turns away from a challenge. There’s nothing he likes better than testing his own limits and if that comes with a competitive edge, so much the better. Rob, 43, who lost his lower right leg after a motorcycle accident in 1985, is fresh from his third New York marathon, raced on a hand cycle in November last year.
“I’m very competitive and getting 5th this year was just the best feeling ever. I was second in the 2008 marathon but I finished in a better time this year so I was happy. Being part of the New York marathon is amazing. There are over two million spectators and they all go mad. It’s a real party atmosphere for the whole 42 kilometres. That’s a real buzz,” says Rob. Rob is no stranger to success. In 2007 he raced in two demonstration stages of the famous Tour de France; he is the only hand cyclist to have ever completed Le Race between Christchurch and Akaroa; and he is both the 2009 Canterbury and National Hand Cycling Road Race and Time Trial Champion. He also played in the first New Zealand wheelchair basketball team in Australia in the late eighties; but when someone lent him a hand cycle he was hooked.
Rob immediately decided to ride the handcycle from Hokitika to Christchurch with his mother, Win Martin, as support crew.
“That took me 15.5 hours over two and a half days and I was the first person to cross the new Otira Viaduct. Afterwards Mum checked with the Guinness Book of Records and they awarded me the Guinness Record for the longest journey (247km) by a hand-cranked cycle. That record no longer stands but it was pretty special getting it back in 1999,” Rob says. Among Rob’s many achievements since, is his participation in the Gold Coast Half-Marathon on elbow crutches in 2000; his crossing of Cook Strait in a kayak with former Olympian Ian Ferguson in 2002; his first New York marathon on a hand cycle in 2001; and his sixth placing in the European Hand Cycle Circuit in 2007. Now he has his eye on the big prize – participation in the 2012 Paralympics in London and he’s prepared to continue his punishing weekly training schedule of boxing workouts and training rides with able-bodied road cyclists to make sure he’s fit and ready.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Property Progress

I'm enjoying keeping an eye on progress as the new Christchurch Civic Centre develops. The revamp of the old Post Office in Hereford Street is a $113-million joint venture project between Ngai Tahu Property and the Christchurch City Council - each contributing $56.5 million to the massive makeover. The below image shows work on tyhe striking main entrance on Worcester Street (opposite Christchurch Art Gallery); the top image is a side view from Cambridge Terrace. The development is so far on-time and on-budget and when it is completed in July-August, it will become home to over 1,000 council staff. It is the first public-private partnership of its kind in New Zealand.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Place Called Home

A picture-perfect day at Koukourarata on Banks Peninsular.
This pretty jetty juts out into the bay just in front of the marae.
You can read much more about this gorgeous, somewhat isolated location by clicking on Koukourarata in the label line below this post.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Way Down South

A pretty morning scene at Colac Bay, southwest of Invercargill in the deep south. I took this photograph of a couple of little Maori boys riding their bikes on the beach just in front of Takutai o te Titi Marae, when we were all down there for the Ngai Tahu Hui-a-Tau in November last year.

Maori Place Names - 45

Kia Ora Street
Aranui, Christchurch
South Island
December 2009. Ajr

Friday, January 15, 2010

Maori Crafts on Sale

I always enjoy wandering around markets - wherever I go - and here in Christchurch there's a market in Cathedral Square several days a week - at least Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This stall selling Maori crafts is always there and I like to watch visiting tourists react to traditional designs. In all honesty, I'm not sure if these particular articles are made by maori, in new Zealand or not. I must remember to ask next time I'm passing by. The top photograph shows a traditional hei matau, or fish hook, which is now popularly used as a pendant.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Church on a Hill

I turned into Wairahoraho Road on Karikari Peninsular in the Far North to see if I could get to this gorgeous little Maori church that sat high on a hill overlooking the peninsular. Unfortunately, the way up to the church was a heavily rutted clay track that would have ruined my car, so I had to content myself with this long view with a telephoto lens. I adore Northland's red-roofed Maori churches and I photographed dozens of them on last year's trip. Well-known New Zealand photographer, Laurence Aberhart made a comprehensive photographic study of them - usually in black and white - and many of his images are in major New Zealand art collections. When I lived in Wanganui many years ago (back in the mid-eighties), Laurence Aberhart was the artist-in-residence at Sarjeant Gallery's Tylee Cottage and he was often seen wandering about the town, wheeling his photographic gear in a wheelbarrow.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Muriwhenua Marae

I was on my way to Karikari Peninsular in the Far North of the North Island when I veered off State Highway One and went down a side road, taking my lead from a sign that pointed the way to Parapara Marae. Like so many of these random diversions that I took on my North island trip, it turned out to be much further than I expected.
I followed the road down into a pretty, quiet valley, passing an occasional farmer, until I came to a sign pointing into Parapara Road. Not far down that gravel road, I found Parapara Marae – an unassuming cluster of little buildings with a large green lawn in front. The place was deserted. Cicadas chirped, kingfishers swooped across the lawn and not a single curtain rustled in the old houses nearby.

I loved the old church, the bell and the weathered corrugated iron structures. A lush pa harakeke and wharenui (meeting house) sat to one side. The wharenui – Te Manawa of Ngati Tara – indicating that the marae is home to the Ngati Kahu hapu, Ngati Tara, one of the northern Muriwhenua tribes. Muriwhenua means ‘this end of the land’ and is the collective name given to 6 northern tribes: Ngati Kuri, Ngai Takoto, Te Patu, Ngati Kahu, Te Aupouri and Te Rarawa.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Among the Mangroves

In April-May 2009 I spent about a week working in the Far North. I made sure I programmed in enough time to go exploring – veering down side roads whenever the urge took me, delighting in unexpected finds. It was just 8am on April 30th when I pulled off State Highway One into the tiny enclave that is Kahukuraariki Marae, the Hato Hohepa Catholic School, a handful of houses and a few residential flats that I think may have been retirement homes. There was no one about – just a few cows bellowing in a nearby field.

The whole community – part of the Ngati Kahu iwi (I think!) - is just across the road from a huge mangrove swamp at the southern end of Whangaroa Harbour, with two small hills directly behind the marae. One had the look of an old terraced pa site. The simple marae building sat to one side of a pretty memorial and I sat awhile waiting to see if my arrival would stir any of the local residents. No one came out so after taking a few photographs, I moved on. It was the same throughout my two month-trip – I was always on the road so early (because of the distances I had to travel), that I often missed those special little interactions with local people. I guess that’s all the excuse I need to make a return visit this year.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Traditional Designs - 14

I love these decorated ceramic tiles by multi-talented, Christchurch-based Maori artist, Riki Manuel, who is perhaps best known as a carver and Ta Moko artist. You'll find Riki's paintings, carvings, tiles and Moko studio at his gallery, Te Toi Mana Maori Art Gallery, in the Christchurch Arts Centre complex.

For Next Christmas.

Spied these very cute Maori-themed Christmas decorations when I was out walking last weekend. Created by Moth of New Zealand.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Maori Proverbs - 2

He Whakatauaki - Maori Proverbs
He moana pukepuke e ekengia e te waka.
A choppy sea can be navigated.
From The Reed Pocket Dictionary of Modern Maori.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Down at the Jetty

Man Fishing
At the end of Rapaki Jetty

Discarded Mussel Shells
Signs Of
A Previous Feast

Friday, January 8, 2010

Marae Progress

The weather was picture-perfect on Tuesday when I decided to drive over the Port Hills to visit the little Maori community of Rapaki, which nestles into a bay in Lyttelton Harbour between Lyttelton township and Governor's Bay. That's it pictured above.
For some time now, the Maori community here have been building a new wharenui (meeting house) at the marae, which sits in the heart of the tiny village. I've featured the early stages of the building here before and thought I'd just slip across the hills to see how things are coming along. There was a gathering at the marae when I drove by, so I didn't stop. I just snapped this one image of the new building as I drove by. You can't see a lot but with the new tiled courtyard laid and the building itself roofed and fully closed in, it's fair to say they're much closer to completion that I expected. The craftsmen and women are now working on carvings and taniko panels for the interior of the wharenui.
I drove down the hill to the water's edge to see what was happening at the jetty - a beautiful little construction that is a feature of the community. The last time I went across to Rapaki, I chatted with a Maori woman who was drying tuna (eels) in the traditional manner, hanging them off the side of the jetty on nails.
This time, there was a man fishing off the end of the jetty and a few Maori kids checking out his catch. The caretaker was mowing lawns at the nearby Maori church and people were visitng the urupa (cemetery) on the hill above to pay their respects to late whanau (family) and friends. All up it's a gorgeous spot and I look forward to seeing the marae when it is completed sometime this year.


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