A sculpture marking Māori history in Wairau is underway with the concrete foundation being laid over the coming weeks.
The sculpture, Te Tauihu o te Waka-a-Māui, will stand on the grassed area in front of the Blenheim Railway Station, on the corner of Grove Road and Dillons Point Road.
Rangitāne co-chairs Janis de Thierry and Calvin Hart say the sculpture represents the prow of the waka (canoe) of Māui.
It represents those who resided here before the first European explorers arrived and all people who reside after, they say.
“Maui stands at the front of the prow with Rangitāne tupuna (ancestor) Tūkauāe at the back. The design includes a taniwha, two manaia (Māui and Tūkauāe) and the middle represents other tupuna and descendants.”
Tūkauāe and his wives, Hinerewha, Hinepango and Ruamate carry the whakapapa connections to families from Wairau. Also represented on the Tauihu will be Te Heiwī and Te Awa o Wairau.
Marlborough was settled by Māori about 800 years ago, and Te Pokohiwi (the Boulder Bank) was a thriving cultural centre, with iwi from around the country visiting and trading there.
The sculpture, designed by master carver Heemi Te Peeti, will be built in steel and bronze by The Heavy Metal Company in Wellington. This is being funded by The Rātā Foundation and a grant from the Marlborough District Council, as well as by Rangitāne.
The site is near the Rangitāne commercial development in Horton Street, and marks the significance of the area to Rangitāne.
The mauri of the site will be laid within the next month before the concrete foundation for the sculpture is poured.
The unveiling and blessing of the Tauihu has been moved to 25 January 2020. Heemi Te Peeti and Rangitāne trustee Jeremy MacLeod will be conducting the tānga kawa.