The whāre (traditional Māori house) design represents Tauranga as the home of the kāitiaki (guardians) of the coastal area – the Parekareka (Spotted Shag). The tukutuku panels are chapters in the story of the birds involved in this disaster, each Māori design has been specifically chosen to communicate the story we feel is important to tell. A basic breakdown of each design is:
Panel 1 (far left): Roimata – the Albatross tears acknowledge that a ‘wrong’ has occured in this place/history. The 3 turquoise shapes representational of the 3 iwi of Tauranga Moana (Tauranga Harbour): Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāi Te Rangi and Ngāti Pūkenga who have all been effected by this disaster.
Panel 2: Pātiki – a time of favourable harvest to come after the disaster, acknowledging the important & delicate recovery process for the enviornment & marine/birdlife back to its former glory.
Panel 3: Poutama – the ascension to the heavens to gain the wisdom/knowledge required to prevent these disasters from happening again & bringing that down into the realm we live in.
Panel 4: (far right): The 3 shapes within the design acknowledging the 3 sacred maunga of the region Otanewainuku, Puwhenu & Mauao – restoring mana (pride/strength) to the region.
As artists’ we visually tell stories, sometimes cryptic & at others literal – in every mural there are layers under layers of meaning & purpose. The meaning of Mauoa (‘caught by the morning sun’) is incorporated through the use of the sunset in the background, each design component carefully chosen to tell the best story we can. Thank you to Tauranga & to the business owners who gave their permission for us to paint their 2 story building without ever seeing a design, that took a lot of courage.
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