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Giant Maori carvings welcome visitors to Eden Park

Giant Maori carvings to welcome visitors to Eden Park

30 September 2010, Auckland NZ – The countdown to the official opening of Eden Park on October 10 begins today when four giant Maori carvings, which will provide a towering Maori cultural welcome to visitors and sports fans to the new stadium, begin their journey to Auckland from Whakatane.

The four, three-metre high tekoteko (three-dimensionally carved figures) will be erected on three metre high plinths. At six metres in height they will stand guard over each of the four main public entranceways to the new stadium.

Chairman of the Eden Park Trust, John Waller said all involved with Eden Park and its redevelopment are keenly anticipating the arrival of these magnificent tekoteko.

“They will provide a dramatic visual expression of New Zealand Maori art and culture to many thousands of sports fans and visitors to Eden Park. They will literally tower over visitors and we expect them to become a much talked about and popular feature of the new stadium.”

The tekoteko – representing Tanemahuta, the spirit of the forest; Rongo, the god of peace; Tumatauenga, the god of war; and Tawhirimatea, the god of wind – have been commissioned by the Eden Park Trust in conjunction with local iwi Ngati Whatua o Orakei.

Ngati Whatua o Orakei Maori Trust Board Chairman Grant Hawke said the iwi is honoured to be involved with this project.

“As Mana Whenua for central Auckland we have a duty to offer manaaki (appropriate hospitality) and kaitiaki (protection) to visitors. These magnificent tekoteko symbolise that guardianship and the place Maori have in Aotearoa.”

The four tekoteko were recently completed at Whakatane and Rotorua by carvers led and directed by Ngati Whatua Kai Whakairo (carver) Arekatera Maihi, who also designed the pieces. The four tekoteko are being transported by truck today to Eden Park where they will arrive to a powhiri reception by Ngati Whatua o Orakei.

Shrouded for their journey, the tekoteko will be unveiled by Ngati Whatua o Orakei kaumatua at a special dawn blessing on Sunday October 10, the official opening and public open day for the new stadium.

Tourism NZ is filming the tekoteko journey for promotion to the more than 60,000 offshore fans expected to attend the Rugby World Cup.

The dawn blessing will usher in a day long series of public events including the formal opening of the new stadium by Prime Minister John Key with the newly elected Super City Mayor also making his or her first public appearance. The public charity day, with the bulk of entry proceeds going to the Canterbury Earthquake Appeal as well as Auckland Rugby and Cricket charities, will include games, sports events and concerts, and will also allow the public open access to the stadium’s new facilities.

Said Mr Waller: “We hope the Auckland public really get behind the opening of the city and New Zealand’s biggest seated stadium. For a gold coin donation which goes to charity the public can enjoy a fun-filled day at the new stadium, and will get to inspect all the new stadium facilities including those player facilities not normally accessible.”

ENDS

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