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Close ties honoured through new tukutuku panel


December 9, 2009

Close ties honoured through new tukutuku panel

The close relationship between Waitakere City Council and Ngati Whatua was further strengthened with the unveiling of a new civic artwork entitled, Te Hono ki Waitakere, (2009).

The tukutuku panel, which now proudly hangs in the council’s civic building, is by Alice Pihema (Te Uri o Hau), 84 years, from Orakei. The celebrated Ngati Whatua artist has been weaving for more than 60 years, drawing on natural resources from the Waitakere Ranges over this period.

The council commissioned Ngati Whatua to create a piece for the civic centre on the recommendation of the Te Taumata Runanga Committee.

Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey is delighted to have the work installed in the civic centre.

“This work signifies the long and deeply held respect between Waitakere and Ngati Whatua.

“It is a highly significant taonga. It will be the last Maori artwork commissioned by this city. It completes our 20 year commissioning programme and seals the relationship between Waitakere and Ngati Whatua.”

Mr Pihema’s other works can be seen in several public buildings in Auckland and in Parliament. She also led the restoration of the Orakei Marae after it was gutted by a fire in 1990.

The stunning piece is finished with a totara frame designed and carved by Arekatera Maihi, a graduate of Te Puia, the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute in Rotorua.

Works by the Orakei-based artist have been installed in several public places including Vector Arena, Okahu Bay and Orakei Marae.

“Mrs Pihema led the design and construction of the panel with assistance from a small team including her granddaughter Myana McLeod and Bernadette Waitere,” says project supervisor Bernadette Papa.

While the work celebrates the bond between Ngati Whatua o Orakei and Te Kawerau a Maki, it also highlights the significant natural resources of the region harvested following customary practises for the refurbishment of Orakei Marae.

Design elements pay tribute to the rich forests of the Waitakere Ranges and the abundance natural resources and provisions of food in the region, particularly the west coast. It also acknowledges the common ancestors of the region, as well as the ancient Maori lore and traditions.

The relationship between the council and tangata whenua aligns with carved references to the Twin Streams' of Opanuku and Oratia.

© Scoop Media

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