Tumatauenga (God of War)

14 tu matau enga Tumatauenga (God of War)
Location: Rosebery Street centre
Materials: Pine, Set in ground
Created: 1998/99
Artist: Herewini Tamihana

Definition of Name:
Tumatauenga – The god of war in Maori mythology

Interpretation of Definition:
Tumatauenga was one of the great gods of Maori mythology and was treated with great respect and admiration. Tumatauenga  is the son of the sky and earth, Rangi and Papa. There are many versions of the legend of Tumatauenga, in Te Arawa’s version Tumatauenga advises his subordinate brothers to kill his parents, so as to allow light into the world. Although the brothers do not carry out his plan, Tumatauenga then ‘snares to catch birds’, ‘makes hoes to dig the ground’ and ‘makes nets’ as to capture his brothers children. Because of these legends, it is acceptable to kill and eat birds, fish and cultivate and harvest foods, which were said to be the children of several gods.

Meaning of the Sculpture / Carving:
This carving is to acknowledge and pay respect to the god of war, Tumatauenga.  Tumatauenga protects all Maori who go to war, if a message is sent to this pole he will tell his brothers, the other gods, to keep you safe. This is in the past has been an important therapeutic communication tool for the Maori people.

Respect is also paid as Tumatauenga allowed the eating of fish and birds and cultivation of the land for the production of foods. This sculpture helps to start a conversation about the Maori mythology and help to teach the children of Tokoroa the cultural heritage.

The wood used for this carving is Pine. There are about 120 differing species of the pine tree, the particular pine of this carving is unknown, but it is most likely pinus radiata. Pine trees are generally native to a majority of the northern hemisphere, although pines have been grown in some areas in the southern hemisphere, including New Zealand. Pine trees live for a long time, some are as old as 1,000 years. The pine tree is one of the more commercially used wood, it makes excellent timber for building. Pines can also be used for Christmas trees and decorative uses.