These represent a part of history and encompass three main kaupapa (ideas
) - record of history and events, identity and decoration.
Whakairo in Tangatarua created by Master Carver Lyonel Grant. The carved Pou Tiaki (ancestors) throughout Ihenga represent not only ancestors of the Māori, but also those of Polynesian and European ancestors. Through the wisdom of Kaumātua Dr Hikoōterangi Hōhepa, and because Waiāriki is passionate about being uniquely bicultural, it is most appropriate to have those ancestors mentioned inside the tupuna whare.
The tekoteko (carved figurehead at the apex of the wharenui) is Ihenga’s great, great, grandfather, Atuamatua. The kōruru (figurehead below Atuamatua) is Ihenga. The poukaiāriki [figurehead at the base of the poukaiāwha (centrepole in the mahau or porch)] is Tūmatauenga. The amo taha matau (the carved pou on Ihenga’s right) is his father, Tūhoromatakaka. The amo taha maui (the carved pou on Ihenga’s left) is his uncle, Kahumatamōmoe.
The Pou Tiaki in the mahau are “Ngā Waru Pūmanawa o Te Arawa” (the eight children of Rangitihi). Each pou tiaki of the eight children are named. The pare (lintel above the doorway) represents the ira wahine (female ancestors). They are Kearoa, Motuōtaku, and Whakaotirangi. The lintel above the window represents the four wives of Rangitihi, they being Rongomaiturihuia, Kahukare, Papawharanui and Manawakotokoto.
Left Side of the Whare
Inside the tupuna whare, Te Pou Hurirōpa a Houmaitawhiti (the corner to Ihenga’s left from the doorway), we have Tūhoe Pōtiki. In sequence from this corner to the rear wall we have, Tamakihikurangi, Toroa, Hoturoa, Turiā Nui, Ruātea and Maungaroa, Whata and Manāia, Kāpene Kuki (Captain Cook), Pawa, Ruanui, Rongomai, Tura, Tangatawhenua Tūturu and Te Hau Wāhine.
Right Side of the Whare
Te Pou Hurirōpa a Whakataupōtiki (the corner to Ihenga’s right from the doorway) we have Whakaue Kaipapa. In sequence from this corner to the rear wall we have, Māāka and Tahu Matua, Tia and Hei, Ngātoroirangi, Kuiwai and Haungaroa, Ruāeo, Tamateaārikinui, Tahimana (Abel Tasman’s ship the Heemskerck), Paikea, Nukutawhiti, Whātonga, Araiteuru, Huiterangiora and Te Hau Tane.
The rear wall represents Te Ao Tawhito (the ancient world of the Māori, where the knowledge base is), and is called “Te Wāo Tapu Nui a Tanemāhuta” (the sacred forest of Tanemāhuta). Ancestors and gods representing Polynesia are featured within the sacred forest. The huge centre Pou represents the whakapapa pertaining to the Te Arawa tribe. The figurehead at the apex is Pūhāorangi (a spiritual being who lived amongst the heavens). The base of the centre Pou is Te Kuraimonoa who descended from the earth mother Papatuānuku. Pūhaōrangi and Te Kuraimonoa had a son called Ohomairangi (the figurehead in between). From Ohomairangi the descent begins, generation to generation to Te Arawa living on the land today.
The front wall represents Te Ao Hurihuri (the world of today). The high structures represent the skyscrapers of our large cities. The blue design represents the face of Māori looking at the world they are living in today. The figurehead at the apex, is Kupe, below him is Ngāhue, below Ngāhue is Kupe’s wife, Hineteaparangi, and the base is Muturangi the octopus.
Poutokomanawa (centre pole)
The Poutokomanawa is the heart of Ihenga. The figurehead at the base is Tangaroa (the god of carving, also god of the sea).
The Tāhūhūroa o te Tupuna Whare (the backbone at the apex of the tupuna whare) is not only the Te Arawa canoe, but also Te Waka o Te Mātauranga (the canoe of education). The canoe represents the rowing of knowledge from the ancient world through to the world we are living in today. The front of the canoe is situtated in the mahau, and is taking all that knowledge on, for our tamariki and mokopuna (children and grandchildren) of future generations.