Tuesday, April 23, 2024

New Waikato community sculpture receives blessing

A new community sculpture has been formally blessed at Tauwhare War Memorial Hall.

Around 40 local residents came together last week to celebrate the completion of the community-led project.

The project begun in 2018 with a funding commitment from Waikato District Council.

“The blessing was a great way to celebrate the tenacity shown by the Tauwhare community throughout the project. It really was a commemoration of teamwork and culture,” said Community Led Development Advisor at Waikato District Council, Lianne van den Bemd.

Displaying their enthusiasm for the project from the outset, the community created a vision for the sculpture by engaging with schools, hapu representatives, and the two local marae, resulting in the ideation of the sculpture which honours the history and development of the village, said Ms van den Bemd.

Brought to life by artist, Marti Wong, and constructed by local builder, Lockie Verner – who erected the sculpture free of charge – the resulting design is an artistic interpretation of Tauwhare, which means house or place of rest.

“The sculpture embodies Tauwhare by incorporating a whare (house of rest), sun rays into the horizon (a new beginning), a steeple (the colonial church), and flax spars radiating outwards,” says Tauwhare Community Committee Chairman, Adrian Pyne.

“The four posts that ground and secure the sculpture represent the pillars of the community past and present, including tangata whenua and early pioneers, who created the haven of Tauwhare, welcoming travellers and making it a safe resting place.”

The blessing was attended by Mayor, Jacqui Church; Councillors Crystal Beavis, Mike Keir and Tilly Turner; the Tauwhare Community Committee; kaumatua from Te Iti o Hauaa Marae and Waimakiriri Marae, Pukemoremore; Kiingi Tuheitia’s sister Heeni Katipa, and members of the wider Tauwhare and Tauwhare Pa communities.

Te Iti o Hauaa Marae kaumatua, Te Mape (Fred) Haimona from Tauwhare Pa, and Tauwhare Community Committee Member, Ants Hawes, opened the occasion with prayers in Te Reo Maaori and English.

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