Friday, October 9, 2009

8 metre tall maori warrior statue for Ngaruawahia

I love it. We have all sorts of statues around this country mainly to so called leaders of this country but there are few maori statues and of all the big kiwis and other oversized entry ways to towns - why not have a maori warrior.

This is a much better way to spend TPK money instead of rugby - lets put mermorials and statues and whatever up all over the country to celebrate our unique indigenous maori culture.

"Ngaruawahia in Waikato is poised to join the long list of New Zealand centres with a big statue – a massive bronze Maori warrior is proposed for the junction of the Waikato and Waipa rivers.

The warrior would be one of the biggest bronze statues in the Western world, and is part of an ambitious plan to make Ngaruawahia, the home of the Maori King, the cultural heartland of New Zealand.

The warrior would be made over an estimated two years by Wellington sculptor Denis Hall.

"We are talking about a massive figure of a man in a crouched position, the biggest human icon figure in Australasia," he said. "The Maori warrior already embodies the way of our culture and our people to the world. While it will be Ngaruawahia's icon, portraying him in a monument of this size will arouse Kiwi pride in a way that no other icon has."

Ngaruawahia community board chairman Bryce Sherson, who developed the concept, said the warrior made perfect sense for the township.

"This is the centre of the celebration of Maoridom and I would have thought that it would be blatantly obvious what is iconic to this town. We have a lot of history here; this was supposed to be the capital of New Zealand."

It all sounds so good but wait...

Turangawaewae Marae, on the northern bank of the Waikato River, is the official residence of the reigning Maori King, Tuheitia Paki.

Ngaruawahia's representative on the council and Tainui woman Moera Solomon said iwi were disappointed they had not been consulted.

Not consult with the tangata whenua - are you crazy?
Why haven't you had proper discussions with maori?

What is wrong with your head that such a great idea could be derailed because you decided that tangata whenua didn't need to be consulted?

Luckily maori are forgiving but how insulting not to discuss.

"The plan was taken to the public and displayed in the library but it has never been brought to Tainui. We are not the general public, we are tangata whenua [local people] and it is our tikanga [culture]. We need as a tribe to have a discussion."

Mrs Solomon said though Tainui was not attempting to derail the plan, time was needed for debate and consultation with Maori. "Personally I like the idea but we must make decisions together. Ngaruawahia is a little village and the people are not wealthy. The idea would need to be captured nationally."

I hope that discussions are held as a matter of urgency with tangata whenua. Get pita Sharples in there as well as TPK, get the money and put the warrior up. But it must be driven by maori. It is not for pakeha to appropriate maori images without maori permission - no matter how good their motivation might be.

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