The Ngai Tamarawaho mokai is the ruru known as Whango. It is said to have appeared as a messenger on many occasions to local Iwi & hapū. The historically significant Otamataha pa is situated along the same stretch of coastline with Whango now watching glarefully over the water watching for those who approach.
He is a reminder of the importance of the site and the respect that should be shown here. Further along the road is Paretaha Point which is known to be a landing site of the waka tapu Takitimu. The waka hoe symbolising the acknowledgement of the arrival reminds us that the great navigators brought us to new lands. Appearing like compass points they are tucked under the wings of the kaitiaki, a symbol of direction that comes from following great leaders.
Mauao is graphically represented with layers of black & white reminding us of the history of this space within both Māori & pakeha accounts. The many seasons, occupations, wars & celebrations are all layers to the history of the area, like sediment layers of a mountain they reveal the stories of the past.
Relating to the surrounding area the colour of the background is a direct link to the ocean, river, sky & also to building that is situated across the road. It is about visual balance as you travel down the street towards the wall, a unity of space & people towards the future.
A huge thank you to George & Shannon Shaw for having us, to Kaumatua Peri Kohu for the korero & insight, Bryce McQuillan for the beautiful image & to everyone who helped us make this happen.