A ceremony celebrating the opening of Te Pātaka, a community art trail at Unitec has helped highlight the significance of the whenua and its puna, Te Waiunuroa o Wairaka.
8 November 2022
Ko Ōwairaka te maunga
Ko Te Waitematā me Te Manukanuka o Hoturoa ngā moana
Ko Te Whau me Te Auaunga ngā awa
Ko Te Wai Unuroa o Wairaka te puna
Ko Te Rangimārie te pā harakeke
Ko Te Noho Kotahitanga te marae
Ko Ngākau Māhaki te wharenui
Ko Manaaki te wharekai
Ko Puukenga te whare manaaki
Ko Wairaka, ko Raukataura ngā tūpuna Ko Ngāti Whātua te ahi kaa roa
Ōwairaka is the mountain
Te Waitematā and Te Manukanuka o Hoturoa are the harbours
Te Whau and Te Auaunga are the rivers
Te Wai Unuroa o Wairaka is the puna
Te Rangimārie is the pā harakeke
Te Noho Kotahitanga is the marae
Ngākau Māhaki is the meeting house
Manaaki is the dining hall
Puukenga is the support centre
Wairaka and Rakataura are the ancestors, Ngāti Whātua are the guardians of the land
The opening procession took place as part of Te Whatu Mauri o Wairaka, a part of the trail involving a collaboration between Ngā Kaitiaki, Unitec’s School of Creative Industries, Wairaka descendants, Dr. Pouroto Ngaropo and Ngati Awa ki Te Awa o Te Atua.
Representatives from Tainui, Mauke and Rarotonga also took part in proceedings.
This community creative placemaking project was developed by Unitec academics Bobby Hung, Peeti Lamwilai, Hohepa Renata, Leon Tan, Tanya White, Becca Wood and Paul Woodruffe. They received funding from the Albert-Eden Local Board in 2021, and Unitec’s Tūāpapa Rangahau, partnering Research and Enterprise in 2022, to curate a series of temporary public art projects and activations across the current and former campus areas of Te Whare Wānanga o Wairaka / Unitec.
In the lead up to the ceremonial opening, mauri stones associated with Wairaka were collected from Whakatāne, Oriini, Rangitaiki and Tarawera rivers, together with a mauri stone from Three Kings in acknowledgement of Rakataura’s (of the Tainui waka) founding of the aquifer there and its relation to Te Wai Unuroa o Wairaka.
These stones were brought to Auckland onto Te Noho Kotahitanga marae by representatives from Rarotonga, Mauke Cook Islands, Ngāti Awa and Tainui. They join a mauri stone from our puna.
Leon Tan, Associate Professor Creative Industries says: “As Dr. Ngaropo tells us, Wairaka’s mauri flows through all the waterways associated with her travels… her life force remains in the waters and has been here for 800 years. It was a privilege to work directly with descendants of Wairaka, to reconnect with this 800 year history.
Te Whatu Mauri o Wairaka is a timely reminder of the taonga that is Te Wai Unuroa o Wairaka, which we need to protect and care for in the midst of massive change and urban development pressures.”
“Finding herself at the grounds now underneath Unitec, Wairaka uttered a karakia and stamped her foot hard on the aquifer and the spring came forth - Te wai Unuroa a Wairaka. This is the place where Unitec is established and the puna (spring) remains alive and flourishing." Pouroto Ngaropo