One of our most recent whakairo taonga has been a patu carved for Kendra Cocksedge, a rangatira within her rōpū who recently announced her retirement from professional rugby.
Last night, before going to moe I was scrolling through TikTok, eventually coming to a video of mātua visibly experiencing ihi, wehi, and wana from their daughter leading a haka below. It took me a few seconds to notice the username of the account: Kendracocksedge, I quickly remarked “That’s who the taonga is for!”
The patu is a symbol of mana, whakapono, and pūkatokato, there are 290 notches which make up one hundred games for Canterbury, fifteen years of playing the game, sixty-one text caps, and one-hundred and fourteen university test caps. The importance of whānau has been an integral part for Kendra which we wanted to demonstrate with the koru symbolising the nurturing aspects of these relationships. Maunga of Taranaki are a part of the patu too, in overcoming steep challenges as well as a homage to her roots.
Taonga are brilliant symbols to mark off life events, encapsulating the memories, mauri, and magnificence of human achievement that we can aspire towards. Sport, more specifically rugby, has played a massive part in constructing the identity of Aotearoa. But change occurs on multiple levels, sometimes they’re expected and sometimes they’re not, and in Kendra’s case, it’s both. A big transition in life can never be easy, especially as a rangatira, so this is the kōrero our carvers put into the patu.
Kendra’s leadership speaks volumes on inspiring wāhine and tamariki not just in the domain of sport, but in life itself. For us it is incredibly humbling to transmit this kaupapa into an ornament of prowess and skill. Moreover, our mana is fuelled by the growing recognition and respect for the Māori arts in Aotearoa. Who knows where Kendra’s patu taonga will be in the future, regardless, the intentions of its mauri follows the hau, seeking its original owner in some shape or form.
Ngā mihi Kendra,
Whakaraupō Carving Centre Trust.
by Noah Mackie.