National | Artists

Carvers unveil magnificent new Taupō artwork: 'The endless hours must be respected'

Kingi Pitiroi, left, and master carver Delani Brown.  Source: Taupō District Council / Facebook 

Magnificent carvings by local artists Delani Brown and Kingi Pitiroi have been unveiled in Taupō this week as part of a town centre transformation and new airport terminal project.

Tauhara Hikuwai hapū, represented by kaumātua Napa Otimi and Manu Blake, carried out a dawn blessing on Thursday.

Sir Tumu te Heuheu, together with kaumātua and hapū representatives, were in attendance, alongside Prime Minister Chris Hipkins, Minister Kiritapu Allan, and Taupō council, project team and community members.

Kingi Pitiroi and Delani Brown alongside their new artwork at the Taupō lakefront.  Source / Facebook

The mana whenua features created by the artists for the lakefront and the airport terminal design have brought vibrancy to the town, the project team said.

"From the first hui Kingi (Pitiroi), to your delivery of the mahi ka whai waahi. The endless hours should be acknowledged and respected. Well done Boy," Tūwharetoa whanaunga Dylan Tāhau said on social media.

Source: Kānoa - Regional Economic Development / Facebook 

Brown, a master carver, explained the mana whenua elements of the new terminal at a second ceremony at the airport.

He said one end of the terminal building faced towards Tauhara maunga and the other end towards the kahui maunga – Tongariro, Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe, and the images on the end walls of the terminal reflected that, a Taupō District Council release said.

On the entrance doors is an image of Horomatangi, who takes many forms, from a crayfish or an eel, to light on the water or a shimmer of currents.

Inside the terminal is a 3.5 tonne kohatu, a mauri stone from Mt Tauhara which people could touch as they entered, Brown said.

“So if people don’t reach Tauhara, Tauhara has come to them and they can touch Tauhara.”

The two large rakau were from a 1200-year-old rimu log from Pureora, at the northern end of the lake.

“It’s an honour to be able to have Pureora, not as a picture but as a presence, a rakau from over there.”

Brown said the three elements – the rakau and the images of Tauhara and Tongariro brought together the three areas of the Taupō district: Taupō, Tūrangi and Mangakino.