Kahurangi Gateway - Explanation of our Unity Landmark at Tapawera
Nau mai haere mai I roto I te Waharoa o Kahurangi- Welcome through the Gateway of Kahurangi
The Waharoa, which includes a native garden, symbolises Tapawera as the gateway to Kahurangi National Park via the Wangapeka track, it also represents kotahitanga (unity). The Kaitiaki (guardian) large rock that sits in the middle of the garden has once been dislodged from our sacred mountain, Whare papa (Mount Arthur) which overlooks Kahurangi (colour of sky) and so like the main body from which it came, it carries the title, Kaitiaki. The carvings on the Waharoa depict local taonga (precious gifts) history and industry.
The early European explorer and surveyor Thomas Brunner sits on one of the Amo (uprights). The Kowhaiwhai pattern above Brunner depicts the Wangapeka river. At the very top sits our sacred snow capped mountain (Maunga Whare papa ). The Maihi (outstretched arms) also depicts industry relating to Tapawera, the saw representing the forestry industry (Golden Downs Forestry), the Kite (weaved basket) representing locally grown kai berries, fruit and other produce, and the pick and shovel depicts the prospecting history and the mining of gold up through the Wangapeka.
The well known Maori guide E Kehu, who led Heaphy and Brunner down through the Kahurangi National Park and beyond, sits on the opposite Amo with Brunner’s kuri (dog). The Wangapeka track is depicted by the curvilinear Kowhaiwhai pattern which sits above E Kehu.
In the middle of the Maihi at the center of the Waharoa sits the Taiaha head. The Taiaha is a fighting weapon, however nowadays it's traditionally used to issue challenges in a ceremony of welcoming distinguished visitors.
We now challenge you to walk through. As one walks through the Gateway one should be mindful of the success of E Kehu who sits on one side, and Brunner who sits on the other side. Two different cultures, both had different tools focused on one vision, in thought and purpose. One should be mindful of the expressed ingredient which brought them success:
Duncan Wilson, Kaumatua, Initiator Kahurangi Gateway Tapawera