The taonga that is ABI’s Whakairo Te Waharoa at the Auckland Intensive site

We are coming to the end of of Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, the ABI team has definitely risen to the wero (challenge) of increasing the amount of Reo Māori used across the week and are committed to continuing this every week. Our final story to share this week is the story of Te Wahaora (gateway).

Te Waharoa has pride of place at the reception entrance at the Auckland Intensive site and head office of ABI in Ranui, Waitākere. The journey of Te Waharoa began in 2017 when a local Kaumātua, Denis Hanson comissioned master carver Bill Smith to refurbish the two lintels.  Before the task was completed Mr Hanson passed and the lintels were gifted to ABI in gratitude by Mr Smith, for the support ABI had given a whānau member during a rehabiltiation stay at Ranui. 

The two pou that complete the whakairo (carving) were carved by Grant Wilson and his team of carvers from Taniwha Tales – Te Whānau O Waipareira’s carving centre.  Te Waharoa was opened and blessed in November 2018.

Grant reflects on who was involved in carving the Pou:

“The carvings were made by some of our most vulnerable members of the community, who have spent most of their adult lives on the fringes of society. Taniwha-Tales carving programme has given these whānau an opportunity to rebuild their broken lives through the therapeutic benefits of Māori carving” 

“All of these artists have had lived experince of mental health issues, may have had time in prison, had failed relationships, and have been sleeping rough. The carvings are beautifully carved to express the difficulties and hardships of their journeys as well as representing the journeys of your whānau at ABI.  Alongside this a gift and representation of whānau, aroha, wairua and whakawhanaungatanga”

Te Waharoa is a taonga that is very special to the ABI whānau; the gifting of the lintel, connecting with those involved in carving the Pou and supporting the local whānau in their rehabilitation journeys. The symbols and whakaaro that make up Te Wahaora are so poignant to the rehabilitation journey following a brain injury so are meaningful to the whānau coming through ABI’s services.    

“He aha te mea nui o te ao? He Tangata, He Tangata, He Tangata” – What is the most important thing in the world? It is the people, it is the people, it is the people.