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Maori and Japanese relationship affirmed with taonga

Maori and Japanese relationship affirmed

Taonga from 58 iwi to leading Japanese fishing company

To mark the 100 year centenary of Nissui, Aotearoa Fisheries Limited will present to Nissui a gift of Māori carvings. It is gifted for and on behalf of all 58 iwi (tribes) of New Zealand.

Aotearoa Fisheries and Nissui jointly own seafood company, Sealord Group Limited.

A delegation of eighteen, including iwi representatives and carvers from New Zealand will travel to Tokyo on 22 August to bless and present the carvings to Nissui. The dawn ceremony is to take place at the Tokyo Innovation Centre on Thursday 23 August 2012. It will include the unveiling of the carvings and appropriate karakia (prayers) that will settle the carvings in their new home at the Tokyo Innovation Centre.

Aotearoa Fisheries Chief Executive Officer, Carl Carrington says “This gift to Nissui celebrates and affirms the close relationships between iwi of New Zealand and Nissui. This is just one example of the strong business relationships that Maori have on an international stage”

The carvings, named “Te Whare o Tangaroa”, depict the god of the Sea, Tangaroa embracing in a net his multitude of children (fish and all marine life). Intertwined in that net, are all 58 iwi of New Zealand.

Designed by Jody Wyllie and Tutekawa Wyllie, this journey began back in October 2010. Jody is a trained curator at the Tairawhiti museum in Gisborne and is an acknowledged Māori art and whakapapa (genealogy) expert.

All materials used are indigenous to New Zealand and include Totara timber, whalebone, pounamu and paua shell. The Totara was extracted from Whirinaaki and the Urewera Forests in the centre of the North Island of New Zealand and were gifted by the people of Tuhoe and Ngati Whare. The whalebone used was gifted by Ngati Wai and the pounamu by Ngai Tahu.

Te Whare o Tangaroa comprises of three pieces; a carved poutokomanawa (centre pole) and two fully carved outside slabs.

With much consultation with kaumatua (elders), the carvers selected for this project were Kiwa Mihaka and Simon Lardelli. Approximately 10 months in the making, the pieces were carved in Gisborne in the style of Ngati Kaipoho hapū (sub tribe) of Rongowhakaata (tribe of Gisborne). Raharuhi Rukupo of Ngati Kaipoho is Māoridom’s equivalent to Michelangelo as a wood sculpture of the highest order.

At the recent Maori Fisheries Conference, former President and CEO, Naoya Kakizoe from Nissui said “Last year, Nissui had its 100th anniversary. However, we could not commemorate the date because we had the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Two weeks before the tragedy in Japan, New Zealand was also hit by a major earthquake. In the midst of it, Aotearoa Fisheries planned to give a magnificent carving to celebrate Nissui’s 100th year anniversary. The carvings will be placed and celebrated at our newly established Research & Development centre called Tokyo Innovation Centre which was built to honour Nissui’s 100th year.

We are extremely grateful for this treasured gift, and it will be viewed as a symbol of the highly valued relationship that our people and companies enjoy. By placing the carving at our new R &D centre we hope it will guide us to continue the spirit of innovation as we move into our second century.

I am greatly looking forward to the dawn ceremony of the blessing of the carvings in Japan, and a continuation of the treasured relationship Nissui has with the Maori people.”

About Aotearoa Fisheries Limited

AFL is the largest Maori-owned fisheries company in Aotearoa / New Zealand. Our vision is to be the key investment vehicle of choice for Iwi in the fishing industry, to maximise the value of Maori fisheries assets and to ensure that we are a strong seafood business delivering growth in shareholder wealth to Iwi. Aotearoa Fisheries business comprises of Moana Pacific Fisheries, OPC Fish and Lobster, Prepared Foods Limited, Pacific Marine Farms and Kia Ora Seafoods. In addition, Aotearoa Fisheries owns 50% of Sealord Group Limited.

ENDS

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