The laying of a Mauri Stone within the construction site that will become the new MAHARA is a special moment in the redevelopment of the gallery, says Gallery Board Chairman Gordon Shroff.
The stone, provided by John Barrett from Waiorua Bay, Kāpiti Island, is a symbol for the wider district. It was laid in a pre-dawn ceremony on 11 February by representatives of local iwi - Kahu Ropata and Moana Parata from Te Atiawa and Callum Parata from Ngati Toa.
The stone represents and protects the Mauri – the vitality or life force of both living and inanimate things as well as those who have gone before.
Gordon Shroff says the significance of the Mauri stone relates not only to the building and land (whenua), the artworks and taonga it will contain.
“It has been placed in the foyer of the Gallery in a manner which makes it visible,” he says. “In that respect, it is a tangible reminder of the relationship between the Gallery and the iwi of Kāpiti.”
Iwi Partnerships Manager, Kahu Ropata, says: “Rongo, the god of peaceful pursuits, is usually associated with matters that are deliberately debated in the meeting house or in this case, an art or taonga space, thus an academy or institute.
“Issues associated with art, taonga, hospitality, safety are vested in the Mauri stone to hold the life force of the Whare. This comes through belief (esoteric and isoteric incantations), united effort (Iwi, stakeholders and Council working together), dedication (dawn ceremony ensures sustained effort).”
Once achieved, the Mauri stone operates in the belief that “Tuwhitia te hopo, mairangatia te angitu” - eliminate the negative and accentuate the positive.
Pictured l-r: Moana Parata (Ngati Toa); Ethan Kennett (Foreman Crowe Construction and Assoc.); Kahu Ropata (Te Atiawa); and Callum Parata (Ngati Toa)
[story credit: Kevin Ramshaw; image credit: Gordon Shroff]