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Pounamu Gift For Neonatal Unit

Pounamu Gift For Neonatal Unit

This afternoon at 2pm, the Neonatal Service at Christchurch Women’s Hospital will be presented with a special gift of pounamu. This pounamu is gifted to the Neonatal Service by the Gray whanau (Rev Maurice, Kaye, Ana, Vanessa and Mauri Tu Kaha) to symbolise Mauri Tu Kaha’s journey across both the thresholds of life and death. The Gray whanau thank the Neonatal Service for the special care and love that was given to Mauri Tu Kaha during his time in the Neonatal Service. This is also a special acknowledgment for the ICE study (body cooling protocol) in which Mauri Tu Kaha was selected to be a participant.

The name of the taoka (treasure) is “Tetekura” and emanates from an old proverbial saying that is commonly used to acknowledge the interlinking worlds of life and death. The full proverbial saying is: “Mate atu he tetekura, ka ara mai ano he tetekura” “For every life that is taken, another life is given”

The Inaka (whiter stone) represents ‘Te Ao Marama” – the threshold to the world of life and light. The Kawakawa (dark stone) represents “Te Ao Pouri” – the threshold to the world of the dead.

‘Tetekura’, the name of the taoka, is depicted in the interlinking design of the koru that are carved to join the two stones. Thereby, symbolising the pounamu as depicting thresholds (doorways) to the world of life and the world of death.

The purpose of this gift is to provide a rite of passage in a ritualistic sense for life that is given and life that is taken. These stones are imbued with the ancient incantations (karakia) that act as the mauri (life force) for the thresholds of the world of life and death that Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) deal with in the course of their daily work.

Neonatal Clinical Director Dr Nicola Austin said the gift was very precious and would be valued as a beautiful and significant contribution to the work achieved by the Neonatal Service and its staff. Members of the Otautahi runaka will attend this afternoon’s presentation ceremony.


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