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Top dignitaries unveil Te Parapara stage two

Media release
Top dignitaries unveil Te Parapara stage two
Posted On: Monday, 1 December 2008

Some of New Zealand's most distinguished dignitaries will join Hamilton City Council and the Te Parapara Garden Trust on 2 December as they unveil a significant development in the creation of Te Parapara at Hamilton Gardens.

Te Parapara Gardens Trust chairperson Mavora Hamilton says "The newest addition to Hamilton Gardens, Te Parapara is a garden unique to New Zealand."

Te Mara, stage two of the traditional Maori garden development, will be opened this Tuesday by Hamilton Mayor Bob Simcock in the presence of Te Arikinui Tuheitia Paki, the Maori King and Honourable Anand Satyanand, the Governor-General of New Zealand.

Named Te Mara because of its traditional function as a cultivated garden, visitors will enter the space via Te Ara Whakatauki, or the path of proverbs. The approach uses plantings to tell the story of the journey of the Tainui people from their homeland in Hawaiiki to the former pa site Te Parapara on which the garden now stands.

Set to be unveiled on Tuesday are over 30 pou carved by local Maori artisans. Many of the pou collectively depict the sophisticated horticultural practices of local Maori in pre-European times. This includes depiction of each of the stars in the Matariki constellation. Probably the single most important regulating factor for traditional Maori farming, the appearance of Matariki in the skies signals the beginning of the Maori New Year and the traditional time that minds turn towards the planting of new crops.

A number of the pou also acknowledge the tipuna, or ancestors, of local iwi. Amongst those tipuna is Mahuta, from whom the Maori King directly descends.

Te Mara is also the site of a whatarangi, an elevated storehoused traditionally used to store food and valuable taonga.

The third and final stage of Te Parapara is expected to be completed by May 2010 thanks in part to a $433,000 grant from the Department of Internal Affairs' Significant Community Facilities Fund.

Hamilton Mayor Bob Simcock says, "Te Parapara authentically represents a significant aspect of the city's Maori heritage with a great deal of integrity. Council are pleased to be working with local iwi, the Te Parapara Garden Trust and the Department of Internal Affairs to make such a significant project happen for Hamilton."


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