Waitaha Books and Artworks Event

This weekend marked the 24th anniversary of the birth of Song of Waitaha: Histories of a Nation and subsequent launch of this taonga 6 years later ie. 18 years ago. Because of these passed significant dates to the ‘rebirth’ of Waitaha we decided it a most appropriate date to open this art space.

Mokoroa is the name given to this special space. Mokoroa speaks of the long patterns and the memory held within. There are two lintels carrying the name of Mokoroa.

This one is at the entrance and the other is at the doorway to the space.

The Christchurch earthquake of February 2010 destroyed the art gallery of Rua Pick (www.ruapick.cv.net.nz). He had been there 16 years. Rua now lives in Whitecliffs with his partner. They managed to salvage most of his artwork which are now stored in containers.

He continues to produce magnificent works from the sanctuary of the Whitecliffs Valley. But he did not have a place to show his work.

However two grandmothers who live in the area came up with the idea of creating a mini space in the back of a garage for Rua to show his work in conjunction with a point of contact for the Waitaha Books. And so work began. For two weeks there was frantic scraping and painting cleaning and scrubbing not to mention carving and landscaping, TV interviews, radio and newspaper interviews all in preparation for the opening of this special space to show the Waitaha books and artworks.

After a week of extreme weather Saturday Dec. 8 dawned clear and mild with the blessing of the Snow Maiden and the Mist Maiden. A small group of  people assembled at the waharoa for the powhiri to begin and so it was. A most inspiring morning was had by all.

Rua Pick standing at the gateway to the gallery.

The artworks shown are some of the original illustrations of the grandmothers book, Whispers of Waitaha. And the visitors were able to view the art and hear the stories in context.

An extract was read from Whispers with regard to one of the pieces in particular, the one of the waka and the significance of the waka being named to grandmothers and the symbolisim of such.

The Special Edition of Whispers is also available. It is presented in a ‘waka huia’ which has the tohu/symbol of the Tuatara carved on the lid and inlaid with paua. The timber it is made of is Totara, Kauri and Kahikatea, all especially gifted for the purpose.  The book is bound in a beautiful blue leather and the title is inlaid with silver lettering. They are an exquisitely beautiful taonga and a very limited number of 50 were made. Only forty are  available for purchase.

Jenny Haworth catching up with Makere about the Frankfurt Book Fair. There is interest from a publishing company in Germany to translate Whispers of Waitaha into German. Song of Waitaha is also translated into German by Winfried Altmann and was published in 2003.

Appointments to view the artworks and the books can be made through phone number 03.3182.638.

Posted on December 12th, 2012 | | 3 Comments »


  • Barbara

    December 23, 2012


  • arkoooora

    July 29, 2013

    wow my heart goes out to you
    iam going to nz in two days
    i have been feeling the call of the waitaha
    in my soul .it feels like iam one of them from long ago
    feels like the wait is over , the time is now 2013 for the return of the true ways
    liquid love

  • kate

    June 30, 2014

    “…the song adumbrates, reifying Purpose in quanta peculiar to Soul.”
    The song reverberates in my bodymind and has awakened something precious.
    Thank you, Elders, for “…calling , calling me home to my self. Blessings.

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