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