Ancient log has future as region's biggest pou

Salvaged from a Hikurangi swamp, this log could be set to become the biggest pou in the North. Photo / Michael Cunningham
Salvaged from a Hikurangi swamp, this log could be set to become the biggest pou in the North. Photo / Michael Cunningham

A massive totara log found in the Hikurangi Swamp could end up being carved into the largest pou in Northland.

Ngati Hau's Allan Halliday said he was grateful to the Smith family, who had donated the 13-metre totara log to the hapu, after it was pulled from the swamp.

It inspired Mr Halliday to start organising a series of carving workshops. The stars were aligning for the course at Ngati Hau's Akerama Marae, because massive earthworks to realign a dangerous stretch of State Highway 1 nearby were unearthing more logs.

"We're getting quite a few that are good for carving," Mr Halliday said.

He said he still had to consult with the hapu on the details of the carving programme.

One of the region's biggest pou was at the nearby Ruapekapeka pa, standing at 9m and if the giant totara log was carved into a pou, it would be the largest in the region.

Pou, or pou whenua (land post), are carved, wooden posts used by Maori to mark territorial boundaries or places of significance. They are generally elaborately carved. Much like totem poles, pou whenua tell a story.

- Northern Advocate

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