February 17, 2016
Heritage values preserved in bronze pataka
The director of the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute says a 4 tonne bronze sculpture being offered for the United Nations headquarters is a symbol of the way Maori see the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The whatarangi or elevated pataka is being carved in wood by a team led by master carver James Rickard, and it will then be cast by Eugene Kara and his crew at the institute’s new foundry.
Karl Johnstone says pataka were used for the storage of food or taonga, and the elevation is a sign of the respect given to items of cultural significance.
"The whatarangi becomes a strong symbol of our knowledge, our intellectual property, all of those things we characterise (as) our wealth and put importance around, and ultimately a symbol of safe keeping so it's about our cultural well being," he says.
Mr Johnstone and iwi representatives are off to New York this week to discuss the Maori Tu gift with UN and Native American officials.
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