Unveiling of pou acknowledges past
‘‘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.’’
Ihaia Puketapu and Bart Hogan below the newly unveiled pou at St Patrick’s College Silverstream.