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Tupapa - Our Stand Our Story: Blessing

Thursday 13 September


In the past year Turanganui iwi, Ngati Oneone, Te Aitanga a Mahaki, Rongowhakaata and Ngai Tamanuhiri have been working together on stories of our past. What life was like before the arrival of the “pakerewha” (Europeans).


The project, called “Tupapa – Our Stand, Our Story” is a trail developed in collaboration with iwi, Gisborne District Council and design company Locales Ltd.

Stories of waka with their captains, tohunga and crew are retold. Identifying which sea animals swam alongside those waka and guided them to land.  Stories of what came on board those waka and how iwi are still practitioners of the ‘old ways’.

We talk about fishing grounds that were once in abundance of kaimoana. How you prepare them and how we ate them, and for some kaimoana, how we would simply leave them to over-ripen to ensure their absolute delicacy.

We are rich with stories of Kaitiaki (guardians) in all our waters and share their relevance in today’s society. We talk about the significance of Te Toka a Taiao/Te Toka a Taiau, a sacred rock that sat in the harbour and why in the 1920’s it was blasted.

We talk with pride of our various tipuna and how great they were, masters of their craft and geniuses of their time… Maia, Pawa, Ruapani, Hamoterangi, Hinehakirirangi to name a few.

In crafting our scripts, we considered what a storyboard might look like, colour, style, and designs. We wanted something relevant to us and reflective of our navigational history and art form and more importantly, a ‘look and feel’ respectful of the people, places and stories being told.

It was also important, because these are iwi stories, that the multimedia experience be bi-lingual. With help from Locales’ design team, our ideas were realised.

The ten pou (markers) are cut in the shape of a waka sail (synonymous to our pacific cousins) and two view shafts will feature a stainless steel 3D map. Ten are specifically iwi interpretations of our stories and two are contributions of matauranga (knowledge) of voyaging from Matahi Whakataka-Brightwell and Te Aturangi Nepia-Clamp.

They will be used together with the technology of today to retell some stories of our past. Locales’ expert advice and leadership using multi-disciplinary approaches, reiterated our scripts through a website, mobile app and graphic novels.

When installed the markers and view shafts will form a trail connecting important sites from the mouth of the Turanganui River to the Inner Harbour, Cook Landing Site and Titirangi.

On Monday 10 September, representatives of the project gathered with Uncle Temple and Aunty Olive Isaacs to bless the site of the first trail marker, the project and those that will work on the installation, which will get underway this week.

The project is supported by Eastland Community Trust and installation will be completed in the next 4 – 6 weeks. Tupapa will be officially launched in October.

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