Location: Corner of Rosebery and Swanston Streets
Material: Pine, Set in ground
Artist: Tama Kingi
Definition of Name:
Pouwhenua – “A long weapon – usually of wood and similar to Taiaha but with a smooth point instead of the carved arero. “
Interpretation of Definition:
A weapon used as part of defence of ones village and by extension to its culture and people.
Meaning of the Sculpture / Carving:
This is one of the original poles erected in the community, it represents both the fighting staff used in battle, and the fighting spirit of early Maori villages, tribes and peoples, and also today’s modern Maori.
The fighting staff represented here is a pouwhenua, which is a weapon that is very large and heavy, and has a big, broad blade. The pouwhenua is from the same class of weapon as others such as the the tewhatewha and taiaha, which was designed for parrying, stabbing and striking. In the hands of a professional, weapons like the pouwhenua were lethally effective and could bring death with a single strike delivered at lightning speed.
The material used for this sculpture was New Zealand Radiata Pinus. This type of pine is originally from California, America.
New Zealand pine grows well in New Zealand’s soils and climate, providing a strong economical and versatile timber. New Zealand pine produces tall trunks that can be used and suited for wood furniture and all forms of show wood applications, including carvings and sculptures. New Zealand pine is a valued part of New Zealand’s economy providing jobs to many throughout the country.
Tama Kingi has created a few memorable pieces in his time, with some of his earlier carvings for the Tokoroa Talking Poles project, which was first suggested in 1996 as a feature for the town’s retail area upgrade. The project was enthusiastically supported by residents and to date, over 40 poles are on display. Eventually, there will be over 60 arranged in a trail, with more hopefully, from Tama Kingi his skill and passion with his craft has no doubt had people at a standstill. The poles are located mainly around the central shopping areas in Tokoroa.