Lion Rock (te piha) is the dominant feature of Piha (picture below) on Auckland’s West Coast. It used to be possible to go right to the top, but the path has deterorated and now it is closed off about halfway up. At this point one finds a stone bench and this pou whenua. Catrin, a Piha resident, was up there taking in the atmosphere of the place and the sunshine, when she got disturbed by my arrival.
Below is a view of Piha with Lion Rock in the foreground, taken early this year. The pou whenua is just above the slip visible on the rock.
A tiled information plaque contains the following text (explanations of Maori terms added):
“This carved pou [=pole] is a guardian. It symbolises the mana whenua [=customary authority] of Te Kawerau a Maki, the Tangata Whenua [=people of the land] and recognises the importance of Te Piha and the surrounding area. It was unveiled by Te Kawerau a Maki, Auckland Regional Council and the local community.
The pou is dedicated to the memory of Ngati Tangiaro Taua, as this was one of her favourite places.
Why not sit for a while like Ngati Tangiaro Taua, to enjoy the view and allow the wairua [=spirit] of Piha to wash over you.”