New whakairo unveiled in Uawa

By Ruth Smith

Te Aitanga a Hauiti have unveiled a whakairo of two of their prominent ancestors, Hingangaroa and Iranui, in the main street of Uawa. The whakairo was gifted by Toi Māori Aotearoa, after it has travelled the world over the past 20 years.

The public display of the whakairo comes as a part of Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti's Te Ahikā: Our Story, Our Voice, Our Place project launched in October of last year to acknowledge the creative and innovative spirit of the area both traditional and contemporary.

“This is Ahikā’s first milestone for the year, we’re unveiling Hingangaroa and Iranui today.  That’s why we’re all here today,” said Chairman of Te Ahikā: Our Story, Our Voice, Our Place.

The piece depicts two of the iwi's progenitors, Hingangaroa, who established the famed traditional House of Lore, Te Rāwheoro, renown for the arts.  He and his wife, Iranui, begat Hauiti, the eponymous ancestor of the tribe.

The piece has been worked on by some of carvings most respected practitioners such as Mark Kopua, Derek Lardelli, Jack Brooking and Riki Manual.  It has travelled both domestically and internationally with respected international indigenous carvers also playing a part in bringing it to life.

“We extend our sincerest thanks to Toi Māori, to Garry Nicholas and the staff of Toi Māori, whose idea it was to gift Hingangaroa and Iranui back to us, to Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti.”

Walker also says that Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti are elated to be able to display the new artwork in the main street of their town.