Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Portrait - 31

At the Opening
Rapaki Marae's New Whare Tipuna
Rapaki, Lyttelton Harbour
Nov.2010 Ajr

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Maori Place Names - 89

The Catlins
South Dunedin Coast
May 2010. Ajr

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ta Moko - A Glimpse

Ta Moko - Tattoo
A Traditional Art
A Traditional Adornment
Nov.2010. Ajr

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Carved Gateway

When I arrived in Taupo last year on my North Island travels, I was surprised to see that this new waharoa (gateway) had sprung up outside the Great Lakes Centre. It was a brilliantly fine day and I couldn't resist taking photographs of its bright new facade against the blue sky.

From there, I went around to Taupo Museum, where, quite by chance, I met the carver who had completed the work - Delani Brown (Te Arawa, Ngati Tuwharetoa, Raukawa). Some of his works were on show in the museum and he was busy at work on a demonstration carving.

The waharoa (above) has been carved from ancient totara logs from Waipohutu Forest of the Pouakani Lands and it features carvings that tell a symbolic and spiritual story about the arrival of geothermal energy in the Taupo region. It was designed and carved by Master carver Delani Brown, who worked closely with Ngati Tuwharetoa kaumatua to receive the stories and historical knowledge that underpins the stories depicted in the carvings.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Traditional Designs - 25

The Tail of the Whale
A Ngai Tahu Design

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Maori Place Names - 88

Near Tauranga
Bay of Plenty, North Island
June 2010. Ajr

Friday, January 21, 2011

Discovering Maketu

It was a brilliantly sunny morning when I discovered the tiny coastal settlement of Maketu in the North Island's Bay of Plenty for the first time last year. Although I spent my childhood visiting Bay of Plenty beaches, I'd never been to Maketu before. I fell in love in an instant. There was just something about the place - an intangible sense of familiarity and belonging that had me thinking I could happily live there.
As I drove into the village, I stopped outside the Whakaue Kaipapa Marae (Te Arawa iwi), which is a lovely complex perfectly located on the shores of the estuary (see lower image). It was a hive of activity as a group of men wheeled barrow loads of soil and busily hammered their way through a working bee.

Whakaue Kaipapa was opened in May 1928. It is said to be one of the first efforts of the Maori School of Arts and Crafts at Rotorua. When it was built there were no carvings inside the wharenui and that's still the case today. The wharekai, which has been rebuilt three times (most recently in 2001), is called Rangiuru, who was the first wife of Whakaue. There are also two delightful Maori churches in Maketu, which I've featured in an earlier blog.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Portrait - 30

Young Kapa Haka Performer
Cathedral Square
Jan.2010. Ajr

Monday, January 17, 2011

Performing in the Square

A few days ago, I spent a couple of hours hanging about in Christchurch's Cathedral Square. It was a roasting hot, sunny day and the place was packed with locals and visitors alike. Buskers were also out in force - jugglers, a flute player, a singer/guitarist, The Wizard and this young kapa haka group raising funds - I think - for their trip to compete in a kapa haka contest.

I stood and watched them for some time, thinking how good it was that they were willing to get out and 'sing for their supper' as it were. They were very good too. But I was also listening to a much older Maori guy singing and playing the guitar. He had a terrific voice and when it came to making a donation, I chose to my money in his guitar case, rather than in that of the kapa haka group.

But as my $5 note floated down to land among his coins, he suddenly stopped playing and announced "Cool, I have enough for a couple of packets of smokes now. I might call it a day."
I wanted to snatch my $5 back and I felt sick that I was supporting his bad habit rather than the young talents of the kapa haka group.

I'll certainly make a better choice next time. In the meantime, I hope the crowds watching this talented group of young performers have helped them get some way towards their competitions.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Maori Place Names - 87

The Catlins
South of Dunedin, Otago
South Island
May 2010. Ajr

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Portrait - 29

Boy -Watching the Games
Karitane, South Island
November 2010. Ajr

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Ngai Te Rangi Marae

Whenever I travel around New Zealand - usually once a year - I make a point of turning down side roads to explore parts of the country I've not seen before. I love those diversions off the beaten track and sometimes they turn up real photographic gems. That was the case when I was driving from Tauranga to Rotorua a few months ago. I saw the sign for Tahuwhakatiki (Romai) Marae and instantly decided on a quick side trip.

The marae itself - established in 1911 by Eruera Tamapahore Te Tahou - was located just a few dozen metres down the road with a magnificent lookout across the bay, with The Mount - Mauao - in the distance (see below).

It was a sunny morning and I drove by the little Maori community. A man building a fire, helped by a team of giggling kids, waved out and I noticed a carving workshop next to his house and a little urupa (cemetery) across the valley. The first thing that struck me about the marae itself, were the huge and beautiful carvings that adorned it. The whare tipuna - Rongomainohorangi - also featured intricately carved amo and lovely kowhaiwhai patterns on the heke (above).

Tahuwhakatiki Marae is home to the Nga Potiki hapu of Ngai Te Rangi iwi.

Ngai Te Rangi is the largest of the three main iwi of Tauranga Moana: Ngai Te Rangi, Ngati Ranginui and Ngati Pukenga. It is essentialy a collective of hapu joined through common descent from the primary ancestors, Te Rangihouhiri and Tamapahore. The iwi has eleven marae in the Tauranga District and hapu include Nga Potiki, Te Whanau a Tauwhao, Ngati Kuku, Nga Tukairangi, Ngati Tapu, Ngai Tamawharuia, Ngati He, Ngati Tauaiti and Ngai Tuwhiwhia.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Te Kahui Matariki

When I visited Tauranga earlier this year, I discovered this series of pouwhenua along The Strand - the seven figures that represent Te Kahui Matariki: the Pleiades cluster of stars, or the seven sisters.
Carved by James Tapiata, they are a handsome addition to the waterfront and each pou includes stunning carved detail.
The appearance of the Matakriki constellation in the north-eastern sky in late May, early June, hails the arrival of the Maori New Year. This is a time of new beginnings when karakia (prayers) are offered for the health of the soil, the seed and the harvest. If the stars are bright and clear, it is said the following year will be warm and fruitful. if they are hazy, a cold winter is predicted. Matakriki was also used as a navigational aid for ocean travellers throughout the Pacific Ocean.
There has been an upsurge of interest in Matariki in recent years. It's all part of the wider renaissance of te Reo Maori and Maori culture that many New Zealanders - Maori and Pakeha - are keen to acknowledge and celebrate. Although there are tribal differences regarding the timing of Matariki celebrations, they most often begin at the next new moon after Matariki has risen.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Traditional Designs - 24

Traditonal Kowhaiwhai Patterns
Wrapping a Gift
For a New Whare Tipuna
Rapaki Marae
November 2010

Maori Place Names - 86

Moeraki, Otago
South Island

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Two Maori Churches

I was delighted to discover the tiny Bay of Plenty seaside settlement of Maketu on my recent trip around the North Island. I fell in love instantly and spent considerable time roaming about taking photographs. I loved these two little Maori churches - the very cute St Peter's Catholic Church above; and St Thomas's Anglican Church, established in 1869, below.

On the day, I took dozens of photographs - expecially of the little carved gateway to St Peter's - but it wasn't until my next stop in Rotorua, that I noticed I'd accidentally knocked the camera onto the wrong setting and all my best shots were in total blackness. These are all I could salvage - not the best, but they give you an idea. Maketu also has a wonderful little marae, which I'll feature another time; and a marvellous little holiday community overlooking a wide spread of ocean and estuary. An overlooked gem for sure and one I will be returning to.


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