Tūrama: Kāhu Kōrako and Manu Korokī

Publish Date : 19 Jun 2022
Mktm Manu Koroki Credit LUKE FOLEY MARTIN


From the karanga of Hape welcoming early waka voyagers to the open invitation from Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei to William Hobson to establish the settlement of Auckland in 1840, to becoming the beating heart of contemporary Tāmaki Makaurau, the Waihorotiu valley has always been a place renowned for the extension of manaakitanga, for welcoming and extending hospitality to visitors, to guests and to ourselves.

The ancient citadels Te Ngahuwera, Te Rerengaoraiti and Te Horo Roa standing above, the bountiful Wai o Horotiu river flowing along the valley floor to meet Te Waitematā, the abundant ngahere of the valley teeming with life and song, the generations upon generations of footprints left by Mana Whenua over the millenia; all part of a native and natural landscape now lost beneath the modern city centre’s urban form, removed from our sight.

But not from our memories. Or our future.

Tūrama is an open invitation to all of Tāmaki Makaurau to revisit and re-imagine the Waihorotiu valley. You will celebrate artworks by icons of Māori art and design, meet the manu (birds) of this place, and come face to face with a 9-metre-high representation of resident kaitiaki Horotiu.

Prepare to be amazed at the celebration of light, form, scale and life that has been developed for Tūrama by the creative team of Graham Tipene (Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Haua, Ngāti Manu), Ataahua Papa (Ngāti Korokī Kahukura, Ngāti Mahuta) and Angus Muir Design.

Te Kaunihera o Tāmaki Makaurau  (Auckland Council) and Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei are proud to bring Tūrama and the Wai Horotiu valley to life as part of Matariki ki te Manawa, for all of Tāmaki Makaurau to enjoy.


Kāhu Kōrako

Me haere i raro i te Kāhu Kōrako

Travel under the wise white hawk

Kāhu Kōrako is a term for an older kāhu/hawk/New Zealand harrier (manu/bird) whose plumage has lost the dark colouring of youth and whose feathers are pale, white or grey.

The plumage of Kāhu Kōrako is compared by Māori orators to the grey hair of elders. When coupled with the veneration that ngāi Māori hold for kuia, koroua and kaumātua, the term Kāhu Kōrako becomes a metaphor for an elderly person of mana. A person whose wisdom and grace will assist your passage wherever you travel within the hem of their korowai (cloak).

Here Kāhu Kōrako is offered as a tribute and acknowledgement of Fred Graham (Ngāti Korokī Kahukura) ONZM, Art Foundation Icon. Within Fred’s impressive body of work of over 70 years, manu (birds) have been a recurring theme, and his works stand and cast a long and rich shadow across Aotearoa and Tāmaki Makaurau, from Waiuku to the city centre.

Two of his works are highlighted as part of Tūrama at the junction of Shortland and Queen Streets. Note that the head of the artwork above you looks to the south-west towards Waiuku, acknowledging where Fred and his wife Norma live and have raised their whānau.

For Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, Kāhu symbolise knowledge, leadership and vision, all key attributes of chiefs, Rangatira (Ariki). The front of Tumutumuwhenua, their whare tupuna up at Takaparawha, Ōrākei features a Kāhu Pokere, a black hawk; the treasured and potent symbol of the tribe. It is their kaitiaki (guardian) holding dominion over and protecting those in its care and embracing all beneath its wings.


Manu Korokī

The reo (sound) of our indigenous birdlife would have resounded loudly throughout the Wai Horotiu valley prior to the development of the settlement now known as Auckland.

In days of old, as a place where life and the mauri (life force) of the environment abounded, the Wai Horotiu valley and its meeting points with Te Waitematā (harbour) would have been home to multitudes of manu (birds) ngahere, manu wai māori and manu waitai. Birds of the open places such as kāhu and kārearea would have been clearly visible, floating gracefully and purposefully on “te hā of Tāwhirimātea” (the breath of Tāwhirimātea) above the ridgelines now defined by Symonds, Karangahape and Albert Streets.

The resplendent birdsong of our feathered taonga (treasures) is a key component of the primary reo of Aotearoa, of Tāmaki Makaurau – te reo taiao; the languages and sounds of the native and natural environment. All of these sounds are reflected in te reo Māori as the primary human language of Aotearoa, and in the unique mita (dialects) of ngā tāngata whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau. Not surprising, given the whakapapa (line of descent) connections that exist within and across te ao Māori.

Manu are revered by ngāi Māori, and feature regularly as kaitiaki (guardians); the manifestation of tūpuna and as a metaphor for the behaviours, attributes and character of individuals, groups, hapū and iwi.

Manu Korokī is a collection of stylised forms of Tāmaki Makaurau birdlife in celebration of Matariki ki te Manawa and as a reminder of what once was. This creative interpretation is inspired by the life’s work of globally renowned sculptor, living national taonga (treasure), Art Foundation Icon, Fred Graham ONZM (Ngāti Korokī Kahukura).

Manu Korokī is a collaboration between Graham Tipene (Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Haua, Ngāti Manu), Ataahua Papa (Ngāti Korokī Kahukura, Ngāti Mahuta) and Angus Muir Design.

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