A carved and painted pare, which is the latest instalment of the Te Hiku o Te Ika revitalisation project, was unveiled and blessed at sunrise last Friday.
It's located at Ao Place, in the alleyway near Bank St which leads to the Kaitaia Market.
The pare depicts the Māori creation myth about the separation of the earth and the sky, or the creation of the material world.
It also unites the whenua and moana/rangi, which were painted on either side of the carving by artist Sylvia Haines.
It was carved by Darrin Pivac, with support from master carver Matene Sisnett.
"It's a taonga to the project, and to our people," Pivac said.
Pivac returned home to Muriwhenua a decade ago and has since completed carvings at Matai Bay and Taipa, with aspirations to complete work where his father rests in Awanui.
"The pare is carved on both sides, the back depicting te kore (the nothingness) and te po (the darkness), which is the realm from which Ranginui (the sky) and Papatuanuku (the earth) emerged," Pivac said.
"On the front side of the pare is what I call Te Ao Marama. That's about how Rangi and Papa or, the ocean/sky and the earth, were initially one, until their children were born between them and conspired to separate them.
"At the centre is the spiral design Takarangi, with Ranginui on the left, Papatuanuku on the right, their children radiating out from the centre, separating them, bringing light into the world, Te Ao Marama, creating the world we live in."
Pivac explained that Northland was once rich in carvings, prior to Christianity and colonisation.
"There's something of a revitalisation of carving happening here at the moment," he said.
"The tide has turned. The church never spoke of carvings before. Now they're blessing them. It's a huge step forward, toward unity."
Blessings by Reverend Rapiata Hokianga, from the Māori side of the Anglican church, who has also returned home to Northland within the past decade, focused on bringing light to the world.
"That's what the carving is intended to do in the alley, a place not usually associated with positivity or enlightenment," said Hokianga.
The revitalisation project was initiated by the Kaitaia Business Association (KBA) and received essential support from councillor Felicity Foy, who is credited with combining existing plans from Awanui and Ahipara and moving the plan through Far North District Council (FNDC) to secure funds for the region.
It's a collaboration of many different stakeholders within Te Hiku and endeavours to create employment and vibrant town centres, with a focus on people, economic opportunity and cultural celebration.
Works will be completed by FNDC, KBA, the Northland Regional Council, and the five Te Hiku iwi.
"This marks the completion of the first third of the $7 million project, which will make Ahipara, Awanui and Kaitaia a bit brighter," project manager Andrea Panther said.