Dec. 3, 2021, 10 p.m.
As the sun rose above the hills this morning, in Taipa, a special ceremony was held at the Maheatai Noho Whenua site for the blessing of seven carved pouwhenua. The pouwhenua are standing along the Taipa riverbank, marking the significance of Maheatai to Ngāti Kahu as the landing place of Kupe and to acknowledge the purchase and eventual return of the land by the Crown to the iwi.
Ngāti Kahu and surrounding hapū and iwi members of Te Hiku o te Ika gathered as the pou were blessed and acknowledged for their presence and the names they were given - as they each carry the names of significant tūpuna of Ngāti Kahu iwi.
Six of the Pou Whenua are carrying the names of the children of Haiti Tai Marangai and facing towards the Karikari Peninsula - Tūpōia , Mokokohi, Tahuora, Te Aukiwa, Taramarae, Hungahunga - and the seventh Pou Whenua ‘Kākaitawhiti’ which is facing upstream, a notable contrast to the direction of the other six pouwhenua, was named after the tūpuna from Te Paatu, hence his position facing back towards his people.
The creation of the pou was a collaboration, originally gifted by Māori Erstitch and carved by himself, Billy Harrison and Daryn Pivac. They were painted by Theresa Reihana, Kahu Tauhara, Sam Poharama and others.
In the last two years, we have seen two other sites in Taipa alone where pouwhenua have been erected such as the Taipa Area School and the Taipa Bridge. Iwi member and kaiwhakairo Billy Harrison’s goal is to “return this art form to all of the beaches in Te Taitokerau with their original Māori names'”.