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Ngati Whatua Bless AMEX Cup Village Carvings

The Official Blessing of traditional Maori artworks at the AMEX Cup Village today signals the end of the road for a carving project that started in 1996 and the beginning of kai tiakitanga or custodianship for Ngati Whatua o Orakei and ACVL.

Ngati Whatua o Orakei were asked to facilitate the cultural components of the AMEX Cup Village project and in turn indicated that they would take an approach which is inclusive of Tangata Whenua groups and other Iwi in Tamaki Makaurau, Auckland.

Because the project is of international significance and likely to attract a wide media coverage, it should be a showcase for the bi-cultural nature of our society. It was believed that the best way to display that bi-culturalism was by the incorporation into the facilities of prominent features such as traditional Maori artworks and the provision of space for Maori cultural performances and art displays.

Many well-known carvers and artists applied for the carving project in 1996-97. Ngati Whatua o Orakei and ACVL in consultation with other iwi groups commissioned Blaine Te Rito to produce the traditional Maori artworks for the AMEX Cup Village.

New Zealanders are very proud of the artworks and believe that they bring forth what is unique about this beautiful land of ours Aotearoa, New Zealand.

The theme of the artworks is sea voyaging. The concept of the ground that the artworks will be standing on is to liken it to a waka or canoe. It is this waka that will carry and uplift the taonga or treasures.

On first approach to the waka visitors will enter the Waharoa or gateway. This depicts Maui and his brothers who were responsible for the fishing up the Great Fish Te Ika a Maui, the North Island of New Zealand.

On the two opposing ends of the waka are the Tauihu (prow) and Taurapa (stern). Along the length of the waka stand seven- (7) tekoteko, or free standing figure statues. Each individual Atua represents a particular aspect of the creation of the universes.

Uru- Te- Ngangana represents the stars and other celestial bodies which aided Maori when voyaging the globe.
Tawhirimatea represents the winds, rain and storms.
Tumatauenga represents tenacity and resilience.
Tangaroa represents the oceans and waterways.
Rongo ma Tane represents peace and calm.
Tane-Nui-A-Rangi represents knowledge.
Ruamoko represents the volcanoes.

The artworks will remain on public display throughout the America’s Cup regatta.

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