Pou a gift from Rarotonga

Special girt: Pa Ariki (the Queen of Rarotonga, left, has brought a gift to the people of Hastings.

A very special guest has arrived in Hawke’s Bay, bearing a gift for the people of Hastings.

Nga Marae, Nga Marae o Heretaunga, the collective of marae in Hastings District, is hosting the Queen of Rarotonga who has arranged for the carving of Te Pou o Takitumu ki Rarotonga. The carving will be installed alongside Nga Pou o Heretaunga in Civic Square, Hastings. The pou were presented by each of the marae in 2013.

The bringing of Te Pou o Takitumu ki Rarotonga to Heretaunga was first initiated by the late Tama Huata who invited the Queen of Rarotonga, Pa Ariki, to erect a pou named Takitumu to represent an ancient connection Ngāti Kahungunu of the Taakitimu waka have to the people of the Pacific.

“The Queen of Rarotonga graciously accepted and vowed she would, and bring a delegation of a hundred from the Takitumu Vaka to unveil and celebrate this auspicious occasion with the city of Hastings and the people of Ngāti Kahungunu,” says Nga Marae spokeswoman Hire Huata.

“Under her authorisation of Pa Ariki, it was Darin Jenkins who was sanctioned to carve the masterpiece of Te Pou o Takitumu ki Rarotonga in Thames. The Pou was then welcomed on the 13th of February to Hastings by Ngā Marae o Heretaunga and the Hastings District Council.

“Te Pou o Takitimu ki Rarotonga – Takitumu te vaka taunga; Takitumu te vaka moana; Takitumu te vaka tangata; stands in honour of the late Tama Huata from her Royal Highness Pa Ariki. This tapaetoto (sacred gift) is a legacy of  the mana that she esteems with the rangatira that stand in the Civic Square of Hastings as Ngā Pou o Heretaunga.”

The pou was formally welcomed at a ceremony in Hastings on Monday (February 13) and will be unveiled on site in Civic Square in the early hours of Saturday morning (February 18).

Saturday’s unveiling will commence at 4.30am, and be attended by Pa Marie Ariki, the Prime Minister of Rarotonga Henry Puna, Ngati Kahungunu marae kaumatua, the local Cook Islands community and Hastings District mayor and councillors.

The timing of the installation was selected to coincide with Te Matatini 2017, being held in Heretaunga from February 23, which the queen is attending. Te Matatini is the world’s largest Kapa haka competition, drawing teams from across New Zealand and Australia.