Parekura's Feather Trail
The walkways around Henderson have decorative ceramic inserts with explanatory tiles. On the Opanuku Walkway we find the story of Parekura’s Feather Trail. The plaque has this to say:
“Parekura’s Feather Trail
Artist: Sunnah Thompson 2009
This artwork commemorates the story of the abduction of Parekura – an ancestor of Te Kawerau A Maki – by Nihotupu of the Turehu people. Parekura was a revered gardener and when Nihotupu came to steal from her garden he decided to abduct her as well. As she was led away into the Waitakere Ranges, Parekura plucked white albatross feathers from her cloak forming a trail by which she might be found. Her husband Panuku followed the feather trail, dispatched the kidnapper Nihotupu and freed Parekura. The Opanuku Stream – Wai O Panuku is named after this ancestor.
This artwork was designed by Sunnah Thompson of Te Kawerau A Maki and was made by the ceramic tile artist Thomas Barter.”
More work by Sunnah Thompson on this blog.
I met Sunnah some time ago at the Mangere Arts Centre where I took the photo below.
Pou Whenua: Glen Eden
This pou stands outside Glen Eden Library (map), and a flyer about the library has this explanation:
“The Pou Whenua is carved from a single piece of kauri timber and stands 6 metres tall. The top figure in a strong haka pose represents the time when power to hold life and land was mostly physical. The middle and bottom figures represent modern times, one of them being a sports player, the other represents learning. The three figures represent the history of the area and connect to, and value, the library as a source of information and knowledge in the modern age.”
This pou whenua is by John Collins and Sunnah Thompson, Matariki Carvers, Te Kawerau A Maki.
More images of pou in the region will follow later.
Pou Whenua: Olympic Park
This pou whenua, like the one next to Glen Eden Library, was carved by Te Kawerau a Maki carvers John Collins and Sunnah Thompson. It stands in Olympic Park (map), off Wolverton Road, not visible from the entrance to the park.
Self-congratulatory footnote: this post marks “100 days of auckland-west photo blog”.
Pou Whenua: Hinerangi
This pou depicts Hinerangi gazing out over the sea, mourning her husband who had been taken by the waves while fishing the treacherous waters of the Tasman Sea. The carving is by Sunnah Thompson of Te Kawerau a Maki, recently unveiled (April 21, 2011). The full text of the interpretive signage is reproduced at the end of the post. Below is an image of the magnificent context of Te Ahua Point at Mercer Bay; with a bit of imagination one can discern the statue as a tiny mark just left of centre.
Looking South from Mercer Bay Loop Track
Pou Whenua: Hinerangi
Pou Whenua: Hinerangi
From the interpretive plaque:
This carved pou symbolises the manawhenua, or spiritual guardianship of Te Kawerau a Maki, the local Tangata Whenua. It also recognises that this is a special place, one of the oldest settled parts of the Waitakere Ranges.
This Pou specifically relates to an early Tupuna, Hinerangi, a chiefly young Ngaoho woman named in honour of a renowned Turehu ancestress.
Because of her beauty, skill and descent, many young rangatira sought her as a partner. Eventually Hinerangi chose a young chieftain from Karekare and settled there in his village and lived happily until an aitua or tragic accident.
At the southern end of Te Unuhanga o Rangitoto or Mercer Bay was a famed fishing spot known as Te Kawa Rimurapa (reef of the bull kelp). One day Hinerangi’s husband and two others went fishing there and were overwhelmed by a large wave and tragically drowned.
Distraught, Hinerangi climbed to this headland and scanned the seas of Waikarekare, longing for her husbands return. Inconsolable Hinerangi sat on this headland for days until she too died of a broken heart and set off along Te Rerenga Wairua (journey of the spirits) to join her beloved.
Her disconsolate face was forever etched into the rock face of the headland on which she sat. It became known as Te Ahua o Hinerangi (the likeness of Hinerangi) and can still be seen today from the cliffs high above the southern end of Te Unuhanga o Rangitoto (Mercer Bay).
Tiriwa is an ancester of the local Maori tribe, the Kawerau a Maki. Their name for the Waitakere Ranges is “Te Wao Nui a Tiriwa” (The Great Forest of Tiriwa). The main carver of this pou, situated out the back of the Arataki Visitor Centre, is Sunnah Thompson, showing a minimalist styling in this pou. A more elaborate version is seen on top of the pou in front of the centre.
Sunnah Thompson, Vern Rosieur, Ian Strongman
… is the timber (kauri, sourced from West Auckland) which is transformed by master carvers into a door lintel which will take its place in the new Auckland Council Civic Building in Albert Street (see my post April 3, 2015). The 19 iwi (tribes) of the Auckland region are represented in the project by six carvers. Three of them were present when I visited Silo 6 at the Wynyard Quarter last weekend: Sunnah Thompson (Te Waiohua), Vern Rosieur and Ian Strongman (Ngati Wai, Ngati Manuhiri).
More of Sunnah Thompson’s work on this blog.
From the Waterfront website:
“Running throughout the month of July to 23 August between 10am and 2pm on weekend days is a very special live exhibition – Nga Whaotapu o Tamaki Makarau (The Sacred Chisels of Tamaki Makaurau).”
“Featuring six carvers representing the five tribal regions of Tamaki Makarau, this is the first major art collaboration of mana whenua (the original Māori people of Auckland), making for a truly extraordinary series of events.”
Concentration and Strength
Sunnah Thompson at Work
Once again Nga Whaotapu o Tāmaki Makaurau (The Sacred Chisels of Tāmaki Makaurau) are showing their craft at the Silo Six Pack, Wynyard Quarter. When I visited, master carver Sunnah Thompson was at work on a carving of Tiriwa (one of the ancestors of the Tamaki a Maki tribe), destined to go to Glen Eden Primary School. Always happy to engage with the public, informing, evoking responses. A collaboration between various local tribes, to celebrate Matariki (Maori New Year), and to deepen their practice of traditional carving.
Check out Silo Park for details about Mighty Matariki Markets at the Wynyard Quarter, with more carving, music, instruments, tattoo and food this weekend (17, 18, 19 July).
Chisels (Swiss Made)
Work in Progress
Sunnah and Tiriwa