Te Ahikā | Hingangaroa (Part 1)

hingangaroa me iranui


This whakairo is named Hingangaroa me Iranui. It was unveiled on the 20th of March 2019 in the main street of Uawa. The whakairo was a koha by Toi Māori Aotearoa to Te Aitanga a Hauiti. We are very proud to be the custodians of this taonga and to have this showcased in Uawanui-a-Ruamatua.

This story tells the journey of this magnificent whakairo and the many hands that carved it along the way.

travels around the world

2005 Toi Maori Festival |

Identified working on the pou whakairo are: Sir Hekenukumai Puhipi, Riki Manual, Te Hau Tutua (Ching), Dempsey Bob (Tlingit – Canada), Jack Brooking, Bill Irwin, Tamati Holmes.

2005 Te Matatini Festival | palmerston north

The whakairo was also exhibited that year at Te Matatini in Palmerston North. There, Hemi Sundgren and Heemi Te Peeti worked on the pou.

2005 Maori Art Meets America | San Francisco

Identified working on the pou whakairo are: Riki Manual, Hemi Sundgren.

2006 Burke Museum | Seattle

Whilst the Eternal Threads Exhibition was touring. Identified are:

Simon Lardelli, Ian Wayne Grant, two local Native American carvers

2007 Christchurch Art Gallery and Museum | Christchurch

The pou returned back from the USA along with the Eternal Threads – Te Aho Mutunga Kore Exhibition in February 2007 and was exhibited at Christchurch Art Gallery and Museum.

Working on the pou are: Heemi Sundgren, Jack Brooking, Bill Irwin

2018 Tolaga bay Area school & kahukuranui | Uawa

The whakairo was moved to Tolaga Bay Area School by Mark Kopua and Victor Walker. Boydie Te Nahu, Rakai Rewharewha and Jack Brooking completed carving work.

The whakairo was also exhibited at the Te Haemata Exhibition 2018 at Reynolds Hall, Uawa.

The origins of the hingangaroa and iranui whakairo

In 2005 the Toi Maori Festival was in Hastings. This is where the carving had its origins in the carvers committee, when Mark Kopua was Chairman and Derek Lardelli was Deputy Chair. Also present was Jack Brooking and Riki Manual. The discussions went on and the carving started with Riki as the lead.

Sir Hekenukumai Busby (Hec) was there as part of the Nga Waka Federation, and is of course a tohunga whakairo in his own right. He and Te Hau Tutua (Ching) joined in the discussions as the group grappled with a way of connecting the two proposed male and female carvings. After some time debating, Hec offered the haumi concept. The idea offered to show that ‘unity of the people’ was as ancient as it was contemporary. Perfect contemporary Maori art.

Tlingit Master Carver Dempsey Bob was also in Hastings in 2005. He, Ching and Hec were constantly talking and following the evolution of the work. The other major American and Canadian tohunga whakairo were Joe David of Vancouver Island and Rick Bartow of Oregon.

The carvings were a late addition to art works touring the United States of America. This started with the ‘Maori Art Meets America’ exhibition in August 2005, San Francisco. Then it was a part of the touring exhibition Toi Maori-Te Aho Mutunga Kore, which toured Burke Museum Seattle (WA), Hallie Ford Museum Salem (OR) and Warm Springs Native Museum in Warm Springs (OR). As the works travelled to each venue Indian carvers were encouraged to add something. Riki Manual was in charge when the carving arrived back with the exhibition to Christchurch Art Gallery in 2006. The tohunga from that area watched and contributed to korero and the young guns had a go! We learn by watching the elders, you might say. They don’t go into places they don’t control.

But it was Jack Brooking who rescued the carvings, as they were gathering dust and offered to house the work at his home. The rest of the story belongs to Jack until it reaches Victor who can finish the tale.

A big mihi to Uawa and the leadership of adopting this art piece. Toi Maori is incredibly grateful to all those who have contributed to its eventual realisation. As Cliff Whiting once asked me when he finished Marukaitatea in Kaikoura, ‘Well who did we build this for.’ I answered, ‘For the people?’ He said ‘yes, otherwise you and I have to look after it for the rest of our lives.’. ‘Hell no.’ I said.

He korero nā Garry Nicholas, General Manager – Toi Māori Aotearoa

To read more about this story see Part 2 →

Photo credit:

Courtesy of Toi Maori collection
Hastings 2005
San Francisco 2005
Seattle 2005
Christchurch 2006

Courtesy of Hine Te Ariki Parata Walker
Uawa 2018

Te Aitanga a Hauiti Centre of Excellence and Te Ahikā thank:

Toi Maori, Mark Kopua, Jack Brooking, Tolaga Bay Area School & Kahukuranui, nga marae o Te Aitanga a Hauiti, Eastland Community Trust, Chorus, Te Puni Kokiri, Gisborne District Council, and Kingsbeer Architecture.