Sculp­ture un­veiled at mov­ing cer­e­mony


A whale­bone sculp­ture com­mem­o­rat­ing two peo­ple who died in Novem­ber’s earth­quake was un­veiled at South Bay Ma­rina in a dawn cer­e­mony on Tues­day.

Hun­dreds gath­ered to bless the newly re­built har­bour and ac­knowl­edge the year since the Novem­ber 7.8-mag­ni­tude earth­quake.

A whale bone sculp­ture was un­veiled by Te Ru¯nanga o Kaiko¯ura and flow­ers placed by Leila Tombs and Mayor Win­ston Gray to ac­knowl­edge the two peo­ple who died in the earth­quake.

Tombs’ daugh­ter, 50-year-old Jo-Anne McKin­non, died as she fled from the home she shared at Mt Ly­ford with her part­ner Gary Morton dur­ing the earth­quake.

Louis Edgar, aged 74, was killed when the Elms his­toric homestead, near Kaiko¯ura Air­port col­lapsed. Two other peo­ple es­caped the wreck­age, in­clud­ing Louis’ then 100-year-old mother, Mar­garet Edgar.

Ear­lier Te Ru¯nanga o Kaiko¯ura rep­re­sen­ta­tive Brett Cowan and Rawiri Manawatu, opened the ser­vice with a karakia and sprin­kled holy wa­ter from Lour­des, at­tended by Min­is­ter of Civil De­fence Kris Faafoi and MP Stu­art Smith.

Cowan apol­o­gised to the fam­i­lies for not be­ing able to ac­knowl­edg­ing the deaths be­fore.

‘‘We were deal­ing with our own fam­i­lies as a ru­nanga and didn’t have time to for­mally pay our re­spects and the loss these fam­i­lies suf­fered in their pass­ing.’’

Two of the three limbs, ac­knowl­edge the two peo­ple who passed. The third rep­re­sents the up­heaval we all ex­pe­ri­enced with the ma­rina and Ru¯aimoko- the atua or god of earth­quakes, Tan­garoa, the sea, and Papa-tu¯a¯-nuku, the earth, as well as the Kaiko¯ura com­mu­nity, and the ef­fect of the earth­quake on us as peo­ple, sur­viv­ing and the strength of com­ing to­gether as one peo­ple, said Cowan.

Dar­ran Kerei-Keepa and Cowan came up with the idea of the sculp­ture as a me­mo­rial to two lives lost, and Kaiko¯ura’s con­nec­tion to the sea and re­la­tion­ship with all liv­ing things.

Kerei-Keepa said the last year the ef­fort has been fo­cused on the re­cov­ery and not on the well­be­ing of the Kaiko¯ura com­mu­nity.

This needed to be ac­knowl­edged be­cause peo­ple were still very stressed, he said.

‘‘We are all part of that in the com­mu­nity sense be­cause it was such a sig­nif­i­cant event and has af­fected the com­mu­nity for the last year and it will con­tinue to.’’

Kerei-Keepa said the ru­nanga wanted to recog­nise the fam­i­lies be­fore the of­fi­cial open­ing of South Bay Ma­rina at mid­day.

‘‘This is what the day is all about - per­son­al­is­ing the com­mu­nity first,’’ he said.

‘‘We are all part of that in the com­mu­nity sense be­cause it was such a sig­nif­i­cant event and has af­fected the com­mu­nity for the last year and it will con­tinue to.’’

Cowan said whale bones were used be­cause they sig­ni­fied the com­mu­nity’s cul­tural con­nec­tion to the sea.

‘‘We used these par­tic­u­lar bones be­cause they were un­earthed dur­ing the earth­quake.’’

The long curved rib bones were re­trieved from around the creek bed that runs through Jimmy Arm­ers Beach on the Kaiko¯ura penin­sula, an area once home to a whal­ing sta­tion.

‘‘We are honour­ing these bones and the mam­mals they are from by im­mor­tal­is­ing them in this mon­u­ment.

At a later date the two bones rep­re­sent­ing Edgar and Mack­in­non would be carved with each per­sons name and a mo­tif of Maori de­sign by Rakau­tara carver Tahua Solomon.


Leila McKin­non and Mayor Win­ston Gray lay flow­ers on the whale bone me­mo­rial, un­veiled at the dawn ser­vice.

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