Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Friday, March 18, 2011
I've visited Te Rau Aroha Marae at Bluff in the deep south (near Invercargill) a number of times, yet I'm still amazed by the beauty of the carvings that decorate this place. The marae is set above the small, scruffy, portside town of Bluff, on the low rise of Bluff Hill and is home to Ngai Tahu's Awarua Runanga. It has commanding views and, within its own fenceline, a wealth of traditional and contemporary craftsmanship.
And the exterior carving is just a hint of the colourful contemporary interpretations that lie within. Much of the overall design and carving has been created by Maori carver and artist, Cliff Whiting (Te Whanau-a-Apanui), who was also responsible for the carvings at Te Marae Pounamu at The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington.
[Unfortunately, I've been sidetracked by earthquake events in Christchurch these past few weeks, hence the lack of recent posts on this blog. But I hope this will change in the coming weeks and I'll be able to continue bringing you regular snippets about New Zealand's indigenous Maori life and culture].
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Friday, March 4, 2011
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
As fate would have it, I slammed on my brakes outside this Maori carving gallery at Ohau on State Highway one south of Levin (North Island) to avoid running over a piglet. If you look carefully, you can see the mother pig coming through the gate on the left of this picture (above).
I was in a bit of a rush - on a journey from Wellington to Whanganui - and it was still early morning. There didn't seem to be anyone about - apart from the piglets and despite the Open sign, so I took a few quick photographs and contninued on my way.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
I was driving from Whanganui to New Plymouth last June when I saw a sign at Waitotara (north of Whanganui), pointing to Wairepa Marae, 5km away down a side road. It was early morning and the sun was just coming up, throwing a cautious glow across the tall, dried, maize fields. I ended up driving the full distance of the road and unless I missed a functioning marae down one of the other side roads, all I could find was a derelict little settlement around this war memorial.
There were a few abandoned houses nearby, a few cows, twittering finces and a few plovers. Nothing else. And as I sat there, I thought how sad the whole business seemed. I'm sure surviving members of Willie Karipa's family haven't forgotten him but it did seem a shame that his lichen-covered memorial now sits, shabby and alone in 'the middle of nowhere.' A bit of quick research has found mention of Willie Karipa at the National Army Museum in Waiouru. He's mentioned on the Tears of Greenstone Memorial there. He was just 23 and a member of the 28th Maori Battalion, when he was killed in action in the Western Desert in 1942.