Image: The mauri stones from the rivers where Wairaka dwelled are gathered here to protect the puna.
Image: Stones being placed in puna.
Te Whatu Mauri o Wairaka, Ngāti Awa ki te Awa o te Atua, 2022
This project brings together mauri rocks from the rivers from which Wairaka comes, which were gathered over two weeks from Te Puna o Te Waikamihi (Sacred Spring of Te Tawera), Te Awa o Te Atua (River of the Gods), Te Awa o Rangitaiki (Rangitaiki River).
Wairaka mauri flows into these rivers, which connect 22 hapū of Ngāti Awa, Mātaatua associated with Wairaka, and also includes Mōtitī, Mātaatua ki Tāmaki Makaurau and Ngāti Awa in Wellington.
Wairaka is the daughter of the great chief Toroa of the Mātaatua waka and Pūhounui of Mauke, who was of high rank, Te Ariki Tapairu and born on the island of Mauke.
Her travels are far and wide, from the Pacific Islands from the island of Mauke to Rarotonga to Rangitāhuahua to Repanga, to Pārengarenga to Kerikeri to Te Tii, to Hokianga to Mitimiti, to Waihou, from Waihou to Waitārukue to Whangārei to Mangawhai to Kaipara to Manukau.
From Te Mānukanuka o Hoturoa, Manukau to Te Wai Otaiki to Te Rourou Kai o Muriwai (Britomart), to Waitematā to the river Whau, where the waka landed. It was here where Wairaka landed and placed the Karaka tree at Ōwairaka Summit.
The Mātaatua travelled to Muriwai, Pāremoremo, to Tauranga to Maketu to Pukehina, to Ōtamarākau to Te awa o Te Atua to Tarawera to Oriini, Rangitaiki to the Whakatane River.
At the estuary of Whakatane River, the canoe was tied to the rock at the river mouth called Puketapu.
Several years later, Wairaka travelled to Auckland from Whakatāne and established herself. While here, she quenched her thirst, stamped her foot, and the Puna came forth. Since the coming forth of the waterways or spring known as Te Waiunuroa o Wairaka, her life force remains in the waters and has been here for over 800 years.
This journey, which is called Te Tapuwae Nuku o Wairaka, is about bringing all the energies to strengthen the waters, gathering the stones from each of the rivers for transport to Auckland to be welcomed on at Te Noho Kotahitanga marae as part of the ceremonial beginning for Te Pātaka Art Trail.
Image: Guests navigating the art trail.
Image: "Te Whatu Mauri o Wairaka" at The ceremonial opening of Te Pātaka Art Trail.
The intention was to bring the stones from the rivers where Wairaka swam, ate, performed ceremonial rituals to bring everything together as one energy to the spring to protect the puna for future generations to follow. These mauri stones show the connection of Wairaka to the land.
The mauri stones were brought on by representatives from Rarotonga, Mauke and Ngāti Awa ki Tāmaki, Te Tawera, who presented these stones at Te Noho Kotahitanga marae.
We also invited Te Kei o Te Waka o Tainui to bring a stone from the Three Kings area, where Rakataura founded the Aquifer where the spring begins. Both ancestors, Rakataura and Wairaka, should be acknowledged in the history of this Puna and of Unitec.
Recognizing the Puna is the source of Te Pātaka Art Trail. Te Waiunuroa o Wairaka is the life force of all things that exist above and below.
This is a reconnection of the creation to the ancestors to the land and people, particularly to Rakataura and Wairaka.
Pouroto Ngaropō, PhD, MNZM is a Tohunga, Founder, Chairman, Leader of Te Tawera Hapū, Iramoko Marae, Ngāti Awa Ki Te Awa o Te Atua, Senior Cultural Advisor to Community Connections Disability Services, Senior Cultural Advisor Oceania Gold Limited, Chairman Te Kura Kaupapa Māori Ki Oriini ki Ngāti Awa, and Elected Board Member Rangitaiki Community Board.