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Pou ‘creates a sense of place’

A new pou was unveiled and blessed yesterday at the Motu Bridge.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and Te Aitanga a Mahaki yesterday celebrated the unveiling of Hinetapuarau, a seven-metre-tall steel pou installed at the State Highway 2/Te Wera Road intersection just north of Matawai.

The pou whenua was commissioned as part of the $7.6 million Motu Bridge replacement project to replace the single-lane bridge and improve safety.

A new name for the bridge, Te Whitinga o Tamataipunoa, “the crossing of Tamataipunoa”, was also unveiled yesterday,

“Our team has worked closely with Te Aitanga a Mahaki throughout the project and is proud to have collaborated on the artwork which not only welcomes people to the region, but also creates a sense of place,” transport agency director of regional relationships Emma Speight said.

“It turns the intersection into a culturally significant space that reflects local stories and encourages people to learn more about the area's history.”

Te Aitanga a Mahaki spokesman Morehu Pewhairangi said Hinetapuarau and Tamataipunoa were ancestors that Te Aitanga a Mahaki iwi whakapapa to and are strong leaders from the iwi's history.

“The pou reflects our history from our point of view, from our strong wahine rangatira, Tauheikuri and Hinetapuarau, to our male ancestors Tamataipunoa and Mahaki, showing the connections between our hapu and our iwi. It stands magnificently to welcome visitors, and whanau returning home to Te Tairawhiti.”

Hinetapuarau was designed by local artist Nick Tupara and made by Gisborne Engineering, from 32mm thick steel.

Mr Tupara said the colour of the pou was to represent the mist that flows in the valley.

Matawai Primary School was present to witness the unveiling.

In addition to the pou, a new shelter has been installed as part of the Motu Trails, allowing cyclists to stop and take a break at the start or end of the Rere Falls trail.

Construction on the bridge replacement project began in 2016 and the new bridge was officially opened in 2018.

Stage 2 of the works involved safety improvements and realignments to the surrounding road, which are now complete.

HINETAPUARAU: The seven metre tall steel pou reflects the history from Te Aitanga a Mahaki point of view. This is from the side entering Gisborne from Opotiki. Pictures by Paul Rickard
Te Whitinga o Tamataipunoa: is the new name for the Motu Bridge. It means the crossing of Tamataipunoa. It was unveiled yesterday by Morehu and Ruihi Pewhairangi of Te Aitanga a Mahaki.
BLESSING: Nick Tupara’s pou whenua stands covered before its unveiling yesterday at a ceremony at the Motu Bridge. Representing Te Aitanga a Mahaki were, from left, Karen Pewhairangi, Charlie Pera, Morehu Pewhairangi and Ruihi Pewhairangi.