A cultural thread
Kaumātua Koro Don Te Māipi and June Davis led the blessing ceremony
The opening of the first area of cultural thread was celebrated in August 2018 with a blessing of the new paving design outside the gates of Whakarongotai Marae. Kaumātua Koro Don Te Māipi led the blessing ceremony.
Iwi and Council have worked together on the cultural thread project, the first stage of planned improvements for Waikanae town centre.
The cultural thread aims to recognise the history of our people and to better integrate the Waikanae town centre with Whakarongotai Marae.
A continuation of the cultural thread is planned as the improvements to Mahara Place and connections to the railway station are progressed.
Cultural thread paving
A significant aspect of the cultural thread is the paving design - Te Ara Tāngata, which has many embedded components that make up its meaning.
Cultural thread paving design - Te Ara Tāngata (the people's pathway)
The design acknowledges the history of the marae, and the many people of it's iwi, hapū and hapori (tribe, sub-tribe and community). It reflects the original pātikitiki wallpaper designs and stained-glass windows within the meeting house, and visually connects the marae to Ruakohatu Urupā - Ropata and Parata cemetery next to St Luke's Church on Elizabeth Street.
Within the wider context of te ao Māori (the traditional Māori world view), the design also represents purapura whetū (myriad of the stars), “Those who have turned into stars, glimmering in the night sky and watching over us.”
Purapura whetū is encased within pātikitiki (the flounder), which symbolises favourable conditions, and harvests good fortune and abundance. It is said that when the stars in the sky are in a formation, that is the right time to go and catch flounder. Mā muri ka tika a mua, mā mua ka tika a muri.
Triangular chevrons can be interpreted as not only a waka (spirit medium of an atua), but also the tip of the hoe (used to row or paddle waka on the voyage). The paving also includes the lashings and whakairo (carved ornamentation) found on the side of waka. The waka can be interpreted as either facing the marae, or journeying away from the marae to the Urupā.
Other work completed as part of the cultural thread project includes improved lighting, planting, seating and pedestrian access from the Greater Wellington Regional Council commuter car park, past the marae and through to Mahara Place.