Talk­ing tile pole close to fruition

South Waikato News - - NEWS - By CAITLIN WAL­LACE

Almost 500 sets of hands picked up a paint­brush last year to tell a story through art work.

The Talk­ing Pole Trust held an 11-day Tile Art Sym­po­sium in Oc­to­ber last year for a new talk­ing pole.

And now it is almost time to bring it out of hid­ing.

Talk­ing pole trustee Mari­ata Couch said hun­dreds of peo­ple turned up and over 500 tiles were pro­duced.

It was more than their goal of 220 tiles but each one is just as spe­cial to make up the 4-me­tre tall pole.

Apart from peo­ple who had made an ex­tra tile, they will all be on the pole.

‘‘We won’t turn away any­one’s tile,’’ she said.

The trust is wait­ing in an­tic­i­pa­tion for the fi­nal stages to be com­pleted.

Though it was pro­duced by the Trust, Couch said the re­spon­si­bil­ity of in­stal­la­tion and main­te­nance lies with the South Waikato Dis­trict Coun­cil.

‘‘ It’s not far off . . . We are wait­ing on coun­cil for the un­veil­ing date,’’she said.

The pole will be erected at the South Waikato Events Cen­tre and Couch said it is the first of its kind.

‘‘It was about do­ing some­thing that would then live on . . . fam­i­lies would come in to­gether and they were shar­ing that time,’’ she said.

Though there were a fair few who were not ‘‘artists’’ she said that did not mat­ter.

Some of the most ba­sic tiles tell a touch­ing story for Couch.

‘‘A year later and I can still re­mem­ber those tiles.

‘‘Th­ese two boys came in with their Nana and they were mov­ing away, all Nana could say is ‘this is re­ally im­por­tant, the boys are go­ing and they are never com­ing back’,’’ she said.

The re­sult was a hand print, the fa­mous Waikato colours and the words ‘‘Toko­roa, 4eva home’’.

Through­out the event it seemed as if ev­ery man and his dog turned up to join in.

Some did not even live in the South Waikato but they all had their con­nec­tions.

Trustee John Paki was also part of the process and could re­late to Couch’s emo­tions.

‘‘Their whanau are here and this is where their ori­gins are.’’ You can look at ev­ery sin­gle tile and re­cite their whaka­papa.’’

Along­side the trust mem­bers, res­i­dents jumped on board to help in­clud­ing builder Gra­ham Hick­ford and 11 spon­sors from the com­mu­nity do­nated the majority of the ma­te­ri­als.

Com­mu­nity story: Mari­ata Couch is wait­ing in an­tic­i­pa­tion un­til model of the tile talk­ing pole is made into re­al­ity.

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