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.
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).