The University of Auckland, Waipapa Taumata Rau, has welcomed a new poupou – named He Taumata Rau – to its city campus.
It was carved and designed by a team led by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei master carver, Arekatera ‘Katz’ Maihi at Toitu Design Ltd.
He Taumata Rau honours the tūpuna from within the Tāmaki rohe and the mana whenua of central Tāmaki Makaurau. It also acknowledges the present and future Māori tauira and leaders from the University, with visual references of courage, discipline and determination.
The design of the pou has multiple references to tūpuna and the many great feats they were involved in, which leaves Waipapa Taumata Rau with a rich connection, history and whakapapa to the whenua.
“It is very appropriate that the name ‘He Taumata Rau’ was chosen as it speaks to the tūpuna of old and allows us to look at the people of this time, and place them amongst those great names and stories,” Maihi says.
“He Taumata Rau also speaks to the many mountain peaks within Tāmaki, reflecting the many challenges we face and also the many successes we achieve in our lives.”
Maihi builds on the kōrero of rangatira who have paved the way for Māori success, like Tā Hugh Kawharu, Merimeri Penfold, Paki Harrison – just to name a few, he says.
“They have contributed immensely to the University and leave great legacies and direction for the Māori tauira to follow.”
The use of the Ngāti Whātua whakairo styles and patterns acknowledges our iwi manaaki.
“The intricacies of this Ngāti Whātua visual also speaks to the landscapes surrounding the area in which this pou stands. The presence of the many water tributaries considers the natural environment, and the oral histories of the iwi – he taonga te wai hei oranga mā te iwi.”
He Taumata Rau was unveiled during a dawn ceremony, which was attended by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, Vice-Chancellor Dawn Freshwater and the office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor Māori.