A new poutokomanawa (sculpture) representing past and future was unveiled at Otago Polytechnic’s Dunedin campus on Thursday 8 December.

The poutokomanawa symbolises the poroporoaki (farewell) of Otago Polytechnic’s Māori Strategic Framework and welcomes in Te Pae Tawhiti, Te Tiriti o Waitangi Excellence Framework launched by Te Pūkenga - the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology, in 2020 and revised this year, with an enhanced version released just last week.

Otago Polytechnic (a business division of Te Pūkenga) takes pride in its partnership with mana whenua (kā papatipu rūnaka ki Araiteuru), which was formalised in a Memorandum of Understanding in 2004 and has been operationalised through a Māori Strategic Framework since 2006.

The ceremony was attended by representatives from Te Pūkenga, Otago Polytechnic, and the wider community, including mana whenua, who have been leading the tikanga and guiding the process.

“The poutokomanawa embodies both mana whenua and mātāwaka on campus. It also represents the future and, in doing so, challenges those who follow to uphold the mahi on which our proud history has been built,” says Megan Pōtiki, Deputy Chief Executive Partnership and Equity, Otago Polytechnic.

“Pou typically denote a border and/or a signal or post. In this context, the poutokomanawa also honours Otago Polytechnic’s history. It aligns with the Ngāi Tahu deity Tāwhaki, who represents mātauranga (knowledge).”

The pou, to be installed at Otago Polytechnic’s quad on Harbour Terrace, has been created by carver Steve Solomon (Kāi Tahu, Te Arawa), with assistance from Jay Davis (Te Ati Haunui-a-Paparangi) and Paora Peipi (Ngāriki Kaiputahi, Tūhoe, Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahungunu).

“Visually, the pou is inspired by the mahau of a wharenui. It has been further informed by the space in which it is situated, the surrounding buildings and prior artworks, but mostly the purpose or the function of what the poutokomanawa symbolises,” Steve explains.

“Unlike an artwork from a Westernised standpoint, the pou doesn’t just reflect myself but represents wider whānau, respective rūnaka and iwi, so I am seeking to honour this opportunity and understand the trust that have been given to me do the best I can.”

Published on 12 Dec 2022

Orderdate: 12 Dec 2022
Expiry: 12 Dec 2024