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The reinvigoration of Te Tōangaroa continues with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei uri Hana Maihi and street artist and designer Techs aka Poi Ngawati’s latest creation, Ngā wai o te ata hāpara, unveiled in May with a dawn karakia.

At a time when Tāmaki is in particular need of cultural reinvigoration, with borders reopening and people returning to offices following Covid-19 lockdowns, the mural is a further step towards improving the cultural footprint of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei across Te Pokapū o Tāmaki (City Centre).

It is the second instalment completed in Te Tōangaroa by the creative duo, sourcing their inspiration from the heritage of the area and ahurea Māori.

The artwork depicts a tiheru (bailer) and is inspired by the glistening waters of Te Waitematā that Te Tōangaroa overlooks where Te Uringutu, Te Taoū and Ngaoho have stood over many generations.

Hana says the first mural depicts the dragging and mooring of waka with the purpose to empower, ground and stand as a reminder of the unwavering whakapapa and wairua from the ancestors to the descendants of the iwi.

“Ngā wai o te ata hāpara honours the important roles and responsibilities that everyone has in navigating our journey through trials, tribulations, celebrations and the challenges that lay ahead, reminding us all no matter how significant or insignificant you may feel, you are important! 

Poi says there is a cohesiveness in design between the two murals reflecting the vibrant history of the harbour and a consistent reminder to stay connected to your whakapapa.

“Many Tui are seen to be passing by each sharing matauranga, waiata and kōrero. Tūī traverse the heavens waters to share their wai-o-te-ata hāpara, the songs of the new dawn.”

Hana shares that the mural is an acknowledgement to the determined whānāu and kaitaiki across Tāmaki Makaurau who work tirelessly to protect and restore the tāonga across the isthmus.

“Ngāti Whātua Orākei have reforested and sought to replenish the source of well-being for those to come by reforesting the whenua, the ngāhere and our whare mātauranga to ensure the return of manu, wai and kōrero for past, present and future generations.”

More mural and Toi Māori projects are in the pipeline, giving our Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei whānau creatives the opportunity to share our stories with the people of Tāmaki and manuhiri, as well as extending our design imprint on the city centre.