Four pou whenua unveiled this morning as part of the Whakarewarewa Forest Development Project have been described as "a beautiful way to welcome manuhiri to the forest".
At dawn Ngā Hapū e Toru o Ngāti Whakaue (Ngāti Hurungaterangi, Ngāti Taeotu, Ngāti Te Kahu) led a ceremony at Tītokorangi in Rotorua. It was held in partnership with CNI Iwi Holdings Ltd, Rotorua Lakes Council, and Kānoa - Regional Economic Development & Investment Unit.
The council said the installation of the pou provided the ability to share the whakapapa, genealogical histories of Ngā Hapū e Toru o Ngāti Whakaue - the tangata whenua of Tītokorangi.
Ngā Hapū e Toru trustee Hokimatemai Kahukiwa said whakapapa tied the three hapū to the land. The pou whenua represented their tūpuna and their descent from Tuteata who held mana over Tītokorangi.
Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick said the ceremony was another example of what could be achieved from working together in partnership.
"We can always achieve so much more together than we can apart. And what a significant weekend to unveil these exceptional pieces - as we mark the rising of Matariki – a time to remember those passed, and to gather with whānau and community to reflect and connect."
She commended the carvers for the time and effort put into creating the pou whenua.
"They are a beautiful way to welcome manuhiri to the forest and to share some of the history of this special place."
Director of Kānoa Portia McKenzie said the pou whenua were a "stunning addition" to the Whakarewarewa Forest.
"Both beautiful and meaningful of their own accord and an additional draw for visitors to the region. The Whakarewarewa Forest Development Project is a great example of a community working as one to generate benefits for the region."
Located at the start of Tītokorangi Drive, the first pou unveiled was Tuteata. It was carved by Grant Hamarama Smith Marunui (Ngāti Hurungaterangi, Ngāti Te Kahu, Ngāti Rangiteaorere, Ngāti Rongomai, Ngāti Manawa and Ngāti Rangitāne), Kawana Waititi (Te Whānau-a-Apanui) and Haami Te Aho (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahungunu).
In a written statement, council said this Kūwaha (doorway) represents Tuteata and his wife Hapuriri.
"Tuteata was the great-grandson of Rangitihi. Rangitihi was the father of Ngā Pū Manawa e Waru – eight key ancestors of Te Arawa. It was carved with wood from the Tōtara tree."
The following three pou were unveiled outside the Redwoods Visitor Centre.
Marunui also carved two other pou - Hurungaterangi and Te Kahu.
Shannon Wafer (Āti Awa, Taranaki, Ngā Puhi, and Grant Hamarama Smith Marunui - Ngāti Hurungaterangi, Ngāti Te Kahu, Ngāti Rangiteaorere, Ngāti Rongomai, Ngāti Manawa and Ngāti Rangitāne) carved Taeotu.
The Whakarewarewa Forest Development has received a $7.09 million Government investment managed by Kānoa - RDU, alongside $7.5m from Rotorua Lakes Council, to enhance the forest amenity.
- Supplied copy