Gi­ant pole planned

South Waikato News - - FRONT PAGE - By FLORENCE KERR

The lat­est ad­di­tion to the Toko­roa Talk­ing Poles is the biggest yet.

The pole was be­ing carved by For­est View High School art teacher Lionel Matenga.

Com­mis­sioned by New World Toko­roa, the Toko­roa Talk­ing Poles Trust will re­veal the talk­ing pole at the open­ing of the new su­per­mar­ket in April.

The pole mea­sures al­most six me­tres high and about four me­tres wide at the base.

It is made of na­tive wood do­nated to the trust by Te Pu­tahi­tanga o Nga Ara Trust, which in­cor­po­rates Maori who own land near Ti­ti­rau­penga Maunga.

The wood Mr Matenga is us­ing for the pole is es­ti­mated to be about 800 years old.

John Paki Ju­nior, who is a trustee on both the poles and Te Pu­tahi­tanga trusts, said the na­tive tree used for the pole was one that was cut down in the 1960s and burned by the Crown.

‘‘ Back when it was Crownowned land they would cut down the na­tive wood and those they didn’t use would be burned.

‘‘When we were given back the land we got a for­est full of liv­ing na­tives and many more that were felled. As a trust we de­cided that we would do­nate wood for the Talk­ing Poles sym­po­sium which be­gan in 2004.’’

Mr Matenga likened the ex­pe­ri­ence of choos­ing the log to carve as a ‘‘child in a candy store’’.

‘‘I de­cided that I didn’t want a round straight up and down log, I wanted one with char­ac­ter. I could see these logs ly­ing there; af­ter two hours I found her, I knew that was the log I wanted.’’

Toko­roa New World owner and op­er­a­tor Da­mon Jakeman said the store had al­ways had a com­mu­nity fo­cus and was com­mit­ted to con­tin­u­ing this re­la­tion­ship.

‘‘It is im­por­tant that the new store fits in with our com­mu­nity and what bet­ter way to do that then with a pole syn­ony­mous with our town. I gave a brief to the carver on New World’s core val­ues,’’ Mr Jakeman said. ‘‘ We are a com­mu­nity fo­cused store which I think has been in­cor­po­rated well in the pole.’’

Toko­roa Talk­ing Poles Chair­per­son Mari­ata Couch is ex­cited about the pole’s un­veil­ing and is thank­ful to those in­volved.

The first talk­ing poles were cre­ated at 2004’s sym­po­sium of artists. Since then about 40 poles have been cre­ated and sited through­out Toko­roa.

The next talk­ing poles sym­po­sium is set for March 2012.

POLE CRE­ATOR: Lionel Matenga is carv­ing the biggest talk­ing pole to date. It will be un­veiled at the open­ing of New World in Toko­roa in April.

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