• Media release

03 Jul 2024

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Matariki is being celebrated in Southland Murihiku in a joint project between Southland District Council, Te Ao Mārama and iwi.

A series of pou/artworks created by Steve Solomon, Keri Whaitiri and James York is being erected around the district, with the most recent opening of Matariki (the mother star) at Cosy Nook/Matariki on 27 June.

Each pou represents one of the prominent stars in the Matariki cluster and Puaka, which heralds the Māori New Year. In Māori pūrākau (storytelling), each star is characterised by an entity who relates to the surroundings or the seasons they watch over.

Te Ao Mārama kaupapa taiao manager Dean Whaanga says the objective is to create a wayfinding experience throughout Southland whereby travellers can journey from one town to the next to see the artworks and read the stories of the area and how the stars relate to the landscape.

“Something really special has been created at each of these sites, with each one quite different from the others, and placed in sites that relate to the star pou there. For example, Waitā, at Curio Bay, relates to kai moana and the bounty of the sea.”

Mr Whaanga says the pou will be on the landscape for a long time, and have been created out of metal and other materials to ensure they last.

“I’m really grateful to be able to work with the council and to tell our stories about our wonderful places throughout Murihiku,” he said.

Pou at four other sites were opened earlier in June - Tupuārangi on Stewart Island/Rakiura, Ururangi at Slope Point, Waitā at Curio Bay and Tupuānuku at Mandeville.

Southland Mayor Rob Scott said he had thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the opening of these works of art that reflect a great partnership and nicely link up Matariki with a journey around our great region.

“The pou take your breath away and the stories that surround them are inspirational,” he said.

Another three pou are to be opened in July - Hiwa-i-te-rangi at Taramea/Howells Point, Waiti at Garston and Waipunarangi at Te Anau. In the future, there will be one at Bluff/Motupōhue - Pōhutukawa, and Puaka will also be erected in Invercargill.

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