Date: June 2019
The pou waka shape reflects a waka upended in the whenua and heading to the sky. This symbolism, or epitaph, refers to an ancient and special practice that occurred for a rangatira or ariki who had passed away. His waka would be upended in the whenua reaching towards the sky, symbolising and assisting his journey towards Nga Mata Ariki which enabled easier travel for this person to reach Io Matua Kore, the penultimate destination.
corten steel insert shows Mata Ariki with his hoe and the water over which he travels.
The notches on the edge of the insert symbol represents Kopiri, the constellation dedicated for the atua Rongo Ma Tane who is a kaitiaki of the Kumara which has its own planting and harvesting matauranga relative to the season and place where kumara can be grown. The matauranga that is represented in the three notches reflects the three mounds made when planting and husbanding kumara. The first mound is for the kumara bug; the second for the atua and the third for tangata.
The Upoko represent Kotare, the Kingfisher whose characteristics like other manu, inspire us to not be afraid to go into other realms. Just as a manu can be comfortable on land or airborne and be completely at home diving into water, so too should we be unafraid to venture across the moana. Both eyes on the upoko are different on each side. Representing Mata Ao and Mata Po, this reflects the range of senses and sensory input required for navigation, which are not just the visual. The currents; the winds; the sounds; the temperature and other tactile and aural sensors are all important navigational tools to employ if you want to get where you want to be.