New gateway to quarry park

Morris Wharekawa with a kuwaha, or carved gateway, similar to the one planned for Te Puna Quarry Park.

Visitors to Te Puna Quarry Park will soon be stepping through a kuwaha, or carved gateway, created by local carver Morris Wharekawa.

The Te Puna Quarry Park Society has set up a Givealittle fundraising page to help raise the $13,600 needed to make the kuwaha a reality.

The 3.5m tall kuwaha will be carved from three pieces of totara with the Maori god of the forest, Tane Mahuta, as the central figure. Local hapu Pirirakau, original owners of the land, and the current guardians of the land, the Western Bay of Plenty District Council, will also be represented on either side.

Morris says the carving will take “several hundred” hours although much of the initial work has already been done.

“Working out the detail before you start usually takes the longest. Once you have that, the carving is quite easy.”

The design is similar to an existing carving that Morris completed as part of his carving degree.

Te Puna Quarry Park Society secretary Dulcie Artus says members felt the eastern bush area needed some sort of gateway and a Maori carving would be ideal. The Pirirakau hapu was consulted and Morris was shoulder-tapped for the job.

“Between the local hapu, ourselves and Morris the idea has grown. The result is a design that follows Maori culture with a modern take. We’re chuffed with it.

“It will be a gateway between the development of the park and the bush as it once was, and will remain.”

Dulcie says while the group has funds in the bank, this is vital for general maintenance of the park so it was decided to fundraise for the kuwaha.

The Givealittle page has raised $1365 so far and there have also been donations directly to the society with promises of more to come. The group has also applied for a number of grants, including one from Creative Bay of Plenty, that may make any extra fundraising unnecessary, but all donations are welcome says Dulcie.

“It also helps everyone feel a part of the place; a connection between cultures.”