Dr Peter Buchanan, Biosystematics Science Team Leader, and Koro Te Pania, Nga Puhi Kaumatua, talk about the development of a pare (door lintel) for Landcare Research's Tamaki site.
DR PETER BUCHANAN
Some years ago in a former location of our collection, we had an entrance way that we wanted to decorate appropriately recognising our links with Māori and all of the organisms that live with us in New Zealand. And so there was the discussion with Ngāti Whātua, our local iwi, about what would be appropriate for that site. And they advised us on the development of a pare or door lintel carved from kauri and reflecting the combination of the Māori carving form, but… and also the content of the collection.
KORO TE PANIA
The carving was carved in 1990 by a student called Denis Conway. To talk about the significance of this carving, you really need to know a little bit about Māori mythology. My ancestors always spoke about the beginning of time, they always spoke about Io. Now Io created Papa, he also created Rangi. As Rangi hallowed Papa, something new was created, this something new was darkness. One of those darknesses was pōuriuri, the darkness where the families, children, of Papa and Rangi were created, and then the creator of you and I, the creator of man. And then there was Mākea-tu-tara, the creation of creatures, insects. And there was Māui-tikitiki-a-Taranga, the creation of great knowledge. This carving here, it depicts all those, that they were one family. All these three generations or creations of animals, plants, creatures, we stayed in the one house, came from the same place. We can put this carving up in the entrance of the house of creatures, or the entrance of the house of human beings. And we could understand that this carving is telling us the same history, and it doesn't matter which of these families we take substance off, we are all compatible.
Erin Green, Crown Copyright. Department of Conservation. 2009
Landcare Research New Zealand Limited
B.McKinlay, Crown Copyright. Department of Conservation. 2009
Clive Shirley, The Hidden Forest