Friday, November 5, 2010

A Carved Landmark - Otorohanga

On a trip through the central North Island back in June, I passed through the small town of Otorohanga, where I spotted two marvellous pouwhenua (totems) on the edge of the main street. Unfortunately it was teeming with rain so my photographs really don't do the carvings justice but they give you an idea of the intricate detail involved in each figure.

The two plaques give a detailed account of each figure, its place in local history and who carved the piece but without an overall shot that shows the names clearly, all that is a little meaningless to repeat here. I will add though, that the figures represented in the pouwhenua are Tuhoro (carved by Korari Boyd of Ngati Haua); Te Kanawa (carved by Desmond Te Kanawa of Ngati Maniapoto); Te Kauauru (carved by Albert Tipene of Ngati Tuwharetoa); Te Haupokia (carved by Tahi Meihana of Ngati Raukawa, Ngati Rereahu).

The figure of Maniapoto was carved by Mitchell Hughes (Ngati Maniapoto); Taonui and Te Wetini were carved by Martin Tuaupiki (Ngati Mahuta); andWahanui was carved by Tahi Meihana (Ngati Raukawa). I thought it one of the most impressive contemporary carvings I've seen in a while - and certainly the placement of new pouwhenua in public places in many towns around New Zealand is an admirable one. It's a visible reminder of the huge renaissance of Maori culture in New Zealand over the last twenty years.

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