Early Monday morning, the Tararua Community Mental Health & Addiction Services building in Dannevirke celebrated the installation of a newly commissioned Māori artwork.
The morning started with a karakia, followed with a few speeches about the artwork and the meaning behind it.
As a symbol of strength for the maunga Ruahine and the awa Manawatū, a whakataukī (proverb) is now displayed to visitors as they walk through the front door. The whakataukī serves as a reminder that many of the community are pounamu of the tupuna Te Tapere nui o Whātonga who arrived here from Hawaiki hundreds of years ago. The piece was written by Cherry Peeti-Tapurau (Ngai Tahu, Ngāti Tuwharetoa, Rangitāne and Ngāti Kahungunu) and Arapera Paewai (Rangitāne and Ngāti Kahungunu).
Peeti-Tapurau also constructed panels for the wall using fabric, representing hinengaro, tinana and wairua (mind, body and soul). A taonga a pounamu kōhatu was designed as a touch stone, to help in the process of healing. Attendees were encouraged to touch the pounamu to assist in grounding, healing and settling the space, with the artist assuring them that it can handle it.
Jacqui Hori, the Locality Services Manager for the Tararua Community Mental Health & Addiction Services, wants their whānau whaiora to feel embraced with wairua (spiritual), whanaungatanga (a sense of connection), manaaki (caring support) and tuumanako (hope) as soon as they enter the building.
“We have been truly fortunate to be able to commission such a talented local artist. Cherry from Tiki2 Gallery was able to capture our vision throughout her art. She has been instrumental in helping us create a space of healing for our whānau whaiora.”
“Art is subjective to the person who sees it,” adds Peeti-Tapurau. “It's up to the person to take what resonates with them. It's all about interpreting the art your own way and that's exactly what I as an artist have tried to do."
Artist Cherry Peeti-Tapurau standing next to the Ruahine artwork.
Artworks representing Hinengaro, Tinana & Wairua.