Sculp­ture to mark quake deaths

The Southland Times - - NEWS - PIPPA BROWN

A whale bone sculp­ture com­mem­o­rat­ing two peo­ple who died in last Novem­ber’s earth­quake has been un­veiled at a dawn cer­e­mony yes­ter­day at Kaiko¯ura’s South Bay Ma­rina.

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

The whale bone sculp­ture was un­veiled by Te Ru¯nanga o Kaiko¯ura and flow­ers were placed by Leila Tombs, whose daugh­ter Jo-Anne Mackin­non died as she fled the home she shared at Mt Ly­ford with her part­ner Gary Mor­ton dur­ing the earth­quake.

Louis Edgar, 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, in the south­west of France.

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

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

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

Kerei-Keepa said efforts over the past year had 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.

Kerei-Keepa said the ru¯nanga wanted to recog­nise the fam­i­lies be­fore the of­fi­cial open­ing of South Bay Ma­rina at noon.

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

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

The bones could be any­where be­tween 100 to 150-years-old, Cowan said.

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

At a later date, two bones rep­re­sent­ing Edgar and Mackin­non would be carved with their names and a mo­tif of Ma¯ori de­sign by Rakau­tara carver Tahua Solomon.

PHOTO: PIPPA BROWN/ STUFF

Leila Tombs and Kaiko¯ura Mayor Win­ston Gray lay flow­ers by the whale bone sculp­ture, un­veiled at the dawn ser­vice.

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