Taonga graces library wall

Work of art: Greg Houkamau and his mother, Angela Houkamau, in front of the completed Tane-te-Wananga-a-Rangi at the Invercargill Library on Monday. Photo: Tracey Wright-Tawha/Nga Kete

A TAONGA, eight months in the making, was blessed on Monday morning at its new home, the Invercargill Public Library.

Nga Kete Matauranga Pounamu Charitable Trust staff member and kaiwhakairo (carver) Greg Houkamau carved Tane-te-Wananga-a-Rangi, which was unveiled in a blessing ceremony.

The carving was unveiled and blessed by Kai Tahu Runaka representative Michael Skerrett.

In September last year, as part of Maori Language Week, the library asked Houkamau to demonstrate mahi whakairo (carving) to the public on site.

Houkamau continued working on the taonga from his workshop at home whenever he had any spare time.

“The library approached me about demonstrating mahi whakairo, I felt honoured and humbled because it is a skill that I like to share with others,” he said.

Library manager Marianne Foster said links between the library and Nga Kete had been strengthened, and she was looking forward to future collaboration opportunities.

“The library has a Maori name, Te Haeata, and Greg has skilfully created a carving that brings together all that the library symbolises,” she said.

She said the carving would be considered a treasured taonga.