Our Cradle of Taonga
Recent letters to the editor about the reinstallation of the Endeavour models, and the nation’s collective response to the impact of Covid-19 prompted former Ministry of Works draughtsman Michael Liddell to send this piece of prose to the Guide.
The drawing is part of Liddell’s project, Whakamarama — Into the Light — Light and Shade. It featured in these pages in 2018 with a full story about the project. That story, Into the light of history, can be found at https://tinyurl.com/y9duvjh9
Our Cradle of Taonga, Aotearoa New Zealand is an abstraction of our place in the world, a place that we call home, and, one that has evolved over time, where the descendants of those early settlers from the east and west of the planet have forged their material resources in shaping our nation.
Born from the earth’s crust, the cradle is an interwoven receptacle formed by the tectonic plates as they entwine themselves in an upward thrust above the sea floor. In visualising our construct with the land and sea, the cradle, like the earth from which it emerges, rotates from west to east, receiving the light of each new day; perpetual motion in the life of the planet.
Within the confines of the cradle is the topographical layout of Aotearoa New Zealand and the sea around it where the initial historical events of discovery and settlement took place.
Further movements of people would establish themselves throughout the land by embarking on the various modes of transport that brought them to these shores and continue to do so to this day.
By bringing all the elements of discovery and settlement to the cradle of taonga, we, the descendants of those early ocean voyaging explorers and settlers from remote Oceania in the Pacific and those of the Old World countries in the northern hemisphere, have immensely benefited from their knowledge base and innovation.
Today, our cradle of taonga rocks to the heartbeat of a healthy nation, originally built on a foundation of pioneering peoples who brought their treasures to these shores, from elsewhere in the world.