Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Laying the stone, Tihi Pukematawai

A stone flown in by helicopter will give “energy” and “life force” to Te Takere, after it was laid at the front entrance of Horowhenua’s new community centre.
More than 40 people turned out for the 7am blessing  on Monday to see the mauri kohatu, stone, laid by Muaupoko Tribal Authority chief executive Steve Hirini, followed by a karakia, and waiata.
Mayor Brendan Duffy said the laying of the mauri was significant.
“We have tangata whenua, representatives from the community, library trust, library volunteers and council, all strongly and tightly surrounding the stone because we recognise how culturally important it is to have the soul of our community finally being established here in Levin.”
Everyone was invited to throw in a handful of dirt over the mauri before it was finally covered over.
Symbolising the recreation stories of Tane-nui-na-rangi ascending,   bringing three baskets of knowledge from Nga Rangi Tu Haha, the stone had its own “dramatic” coming down off the mountain.
Horowhenua Land Search and Rescue was activated when Levin man Kerehi Wi Warena, who had gone into the Tararuas early Saturday morning to find the right mauri, failed to return that evening, and had still had not shown up by Sunday afternoon.
Mr Wi Warena said he intended to walk up to Arete Peak, a trek he has made many times, and be back within 12 hours.
 “I had no idea where that rock would be, and had every intention of getting it off the highest point at Arete, but the mountain, sky and elements have to talk to me.
“Everything has to be right, and come to gather for the taonga to present itself.”
At the peak, thick cloud cover made it impossible to see anything, and Mr Wi Warena made the decision to stay the night in the hut, and head back the next morning.
At Arete Pukematawai on the descent, the cloud parted, “revealing” the whole district - and the mauri - a “west facing rock”, overseeing Horowhenua to Taranaki, and the South Island, “standing on mother earth but close to the sky gods, and shaped by the elements”.
The 10 kg rock, named Tihi Pukematawai (peak of the facial waters), came away easily, however, the swinging of its weight on his back, caused a knee injury forcing Mr Wi Warena to rest up at Ohau South hut for a couple of hours before starting on the final leg home, where he was found by Land SAR.
“I got bit of a talking to, but I think I’ve fulfilled my part.
 “I know the lie of the land and my physical capability, but I hadn’t anticipated the injury and electing to stay overnight.”
 Mr Wi Warena said he did not want his rescue to overshadow the ceremony, symbolising iwi working with council and the community.
 “In a strange way, it ended up being a community event to bring the rock down, although absolutely unintentional.”
Muaupoko Tribal Authority Kaumatua Kevin Hill, leading  the ceremony said it was a “great occasion”.
“We’re here for the right reasons, God will bless us all.”

The full story of the adventure of the retrieval of Tihi Pukematawai is here.

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