Un­veil­ing of pou ac­knowl­edges past

Upper Hutt Leader - - FRONT PAGE - MATTHEWTSO

‘‘This makes a state­ment. This is here to ac­knowl­edge the past and peo­ple [who lived here] which is long over­due.’’

Te Kaeaea is once again look­ing proudly over the site of his old pa.

A pou, or post, fea­tur­ing two carved fig­ures rep­re­sent­ing the Ngati Tama chief was un­veiled re­cently at the site of a for­mer Ngati Tama vil­lage lo­cated on the grounds of what is now St Pa­trick’s Col­lege Sil­ver­stream.

Stu­dents per­formed a haka and a karakia was re­cited be­fore the tar­pau­lins were re­moved to re­veal the 5-me­tre tall pou.

The in­stal­la­tion was ar­ranged by the Friends of the Mawai­hakona Stream who raised funds for the project and com­mis­sioned the carv­ing.

Friends chair­man Bart Ho­gan said the pou was a trib­ute to Te Kaeaea, also known as Taringakuri, or Dog’s ear, and his tribe who for­merly oc­cu­pied the site the post now stands on.

‘‘There’s lit­tle recorded Maori his­tory in Up­per Hutt. This makes a state­ment. This is here to ac­knowl­edge the past and peo­ple [who lived here] which is long over­due.’’

Te Kaeaea and his tribe came to the Welling­ton re­gion from their north Taranaki home­land after con­flict with tribes from Waikato dur­ing the Mus­ket Wars.

They even­tu­ally es­tab­lished a pa in Up­per Hutt on the site that is now St Pa­trick’s Col­lege.

The pou was carved by Lower Hutt’s Ihaia Puke­tapu who was pleased to be part of such a sig­nif­i­cant project.

Two rep­re­sen­ta­tions of the Ngati Tama chief stand back to back atop the pou with one fig­ure, Taringakuri, look­ing over the site of the old Ngati Tama vil­lage and Te Kaeaea look­ing to­wards his Taranaki home­land.

The post was carved from a 300-year-old Tawa trunk which was felled as part of log­ging ac­tiv­i­ties in the Tararua range.

Puke­tapu said it was a rare priv­i­lege to be able to work with such a piece of tim­ber.

St Pa­trick’s rec­tor Ger­ard Tully said the pou was a ‘‘great ad­di­tion to the school grounds’’ and would pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for stu­dents to learn the story of Te Kaeaea and Ngati Tama.

‘‘It pro­vides a lasting reminder of lo­cal his­tory, the in­ter­ac­tions of lo­cal iwi, and the com­ing to­gether of Maori and Pakeha cul­tures.’’

MATTHEW TSO/STUFF

Ihaia Puke­tapu and Bart Ho­gan be­low the newly un­veiled pou at St Pa­trick’s Col­lege Sil­ver­stream.

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