Tuesday, July 3, Takarunga Mt Victoria
6am, and the maunga wears its fading korowai of night. There are stars still and the moon at half-mast. Below us the baubled city stands to attention.
We are gathered in the arms of Takarunga, mana whenua, manuhiri, kaitiaki, community, those for whom the maunga is home, guide, companion and seer, to bless Kerr St Artspace with a new name, Whare Toi which signifies our relationship with Tupuna Maunga Authority and honours our attachment to Takarunga.
Among us are Roger Giles of the Bunker, Jan McEwan and Tania Stewart of MKWC, David Wright, Director of the Navy Museum, Council and Local Board representatives, Chris Darby, Richard Hills and Mike Cohen, TMA members Paul Puru, Dominic Wilson and Nick Turoa and Depot Artspace whanau, represented by Jermaine Reihana who speaks to the kaupapa of the Depot which brought us to Takarunga more than 15 years sgo.
Whare Toi is blessed by kaumatua Jim Rauwhero and kaikaranga caller Dolly Tai Rakena both gifted by ancestry tupuna with the whakapapa of the maunga.
Each of us follows them through the building, touching its wooden bones, acknowledging its presence on Takarunga for 7 decades or more, and its constant service to this community; as a post-war transit house for those waiting to be re-homed, as one of Auckland’s early community houses, as a youth employment centre and now as an arts hub offering arts classes and a professional development programme for creatives.