Māori artist's tribute to Muslim community

By Te Ao - Māori News

Many local artists have created work in tribute to the lives lost in tragedy that took place in Christchurch last Friday. Among the artworks is a piece created by Akoni Pakinga, a 27-year-old descendant of Te Arawa, Ngai Tahu, Ngati Whakaue that he named Kotahitanga.

Pakinga says he already had the image in his head and he felt that he just needed to get it out there.  "It's me doing my part, I felt like I just needed to do it," he says.

In the artwork Māori are gathered around the Muslim man standing underneath a Waharoa.  Their hands placed on his shoulders, mourning and expressing great sadness for him.

Pakinga says the work seeks to represent "tautoko and the togetherness of our nation".  

It was Pakinga's way of expressing how he felt about the situation, he says.

"I cannot express how sorry I am, this is your home too, Tautoko."