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Matariki (Pou Moko Kauae series)

Macrocarpa rakau, linseed oil finish

At the top: Matariki’s head are the ‘triple stars’ sung in the NZ National Anthem. The number 3 also has strong spiritual significance in te ao maori Matariki wears her moko kauae (chin tattoo) to show her importance and status in Nga Rangituhaha (heavens), te ao maori folklore, waiata and purakau (stories). 

Matariki is wearing her korowai whetu (star cloak) which she uses to protect her 8 children who never stray far from her embrace,

The carved koru shapes represent her children from the top – Waiti, Waita, Waipunarangi, Tupuanuku, Tupuarangi, Ururangi, Pohutukawa and Hiwaiterangi. These are echoed in the star shapes on the back of the pou 

The colour of the pou represents Te Po Nui (The Great Darkness) as Matariki and her stars are in a state of deep sleep waiting for their moment to shine brightly and bring about Te Tau Hou Maori (Maori New Year). The darkened colour also represents the damage we are doing to Papatuanuku (Earthmother) and to tread lightly upon her Toitu te whenua whatungarongaro te tangata – When people are gone only the land will remain This pou is also a kaitiaki (guardian) to bring about positive change and goodwill.


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Artist Bio

Ngahiwi Walker

Ngahiwi started whakairo (carving) in 2003 because someone he knew had  a traumatic experience. He wanted to do something for them, so he carved a ‘Pou’. The family was taken away – breathless – by it, and very grateful. Ngahiwi’s first carvings were gifts for family members whose lives had been affected in some way by birth or death; since then, he has been carving pūrākau (stories) that he remembers from way back. His influences include pūrākau handed down by elders, birth, and death, and he particularly likes to carve natural looking wooden shapes such as logs and posts.

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