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Waitangi Regional Park: Old Poles – New Pou

Following the March 2017 official opening of Waitangi Regional Park and Ātea a Rangi – the 50 metre wide Star Compass attraction – a further 12 ornately-carved Pou were today unveiled on the same site, timed to coincide with the winter solstice.

The 12 Pou recognised today began life as power poles, now transformed by a team of carvers.

Regional Council Chair Rex Graham stood with the shivering crowd to admire today’s new configuration of 16 Pou.

“Standing here on Waitangi Day in 2015, I said that this site would transform into a taonga, and this is what we now have,” says Mr Graham.

Head carvers Nathan Foote and Phil Belcher have been teaching a team over the past year. Together with Paora Puketapu, Te Kaha Hawaikirangi, Phillip Smith, Deon Wong and Rangitane Taurima, they have jointly carved the twelve Pou unveiled today.

Phillip Smith, Trustee of the Ātea a Rangi Educational Trust, believes it is important to get people back in tune with the celestial bodies.

“This time of year, “Te takanga a te Ra” the winter solstice is the reason why the star cluster of Matariki was so important to our ancestors as the Māori new year,” says Mr Smith.

“The Ātea a Rangi aims to tell the story to people of Hawke’s Bay about the knowledge and understanding our ancestors had about the celestial bodies and how this is still relevant in many facets of life today.”

Unison Relationship Manager, Danny Gough says the Company is proud to supply the poles for their new purpose as Pou.

“We think it’s fantastic that these poles that once lined our streets will continue giving to the community through the Ātea a Rangi. The compass and the transformation of Waitangi Regional Park generally will help to enrich the area, so we’re delighted to be able to contribute in this way,” says Danny.

The transformation of this area of the regional park is part of a long-term collaboration between the Ātea a Rangi Educational Trust, Te Matau a Māui Voyaging Trust and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council.

Today’s additional poles include four Manu, four Ngā Reo and four Ngā Rangi Pou, these are used to group the rising and setting points of the stars, sun and moon to navigate waka on the open ocean.

The remaining 16 Pou – of 32 in total – continue to be carved and will be installed in the September Equinox and the summer solstice in December 2017.


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