Totara I Ahua

This is the second ‘Art Attack Mural’ commissioned by the Museum for the courtyard. It was chosen from a shortlist and installed in Feb-March 2020 by local artist Hakahaka Tane of Ngāti Urunumia, Ngāti Uekaha, and Ngāti Ruaroa. 

In her own words, Hakahaka describes this mural ‘Totara I Ahua’ as a modern response to the re-emerging of Te Uenuku who lay at the shores of Lake Ngā Roto for 226 years before it was rediscovered around 1906.

In its original form, Te Uenuku assumed the transferring of sap downward and upward within the phloem, carrying nutrients to all its living parts also described as a transfer of chromosomal segment to a new position. It is the artist’s impression of the transference and re-emergence of Te Uenuku that speaks to whakapapa and is rendered in paint as active. The work is a reflective reminder that sets aside physical boundaries and the significance of translocation, transference of energy, intention, and universal purpose between all living entities unique to Māori culture that reside between Ranginui and Papatuanuku.

Te Uenuku holds significance for Ngāti Maniapoto and Tainui tribes during the invasion of Ngāti Toa at the battle of Hingakākā at Lake Ngāroto around 1780. The histories of Te Uenuku are recorded within Te Awamutu archives.

The Museum extended the showing of ‘Totara I Ahua’ due to Covid, so visitors can enjoy this amazing mural and learn more about the artwork and artist.

Hakahaka sought permission of Uenuku’s kaitiaki, Shane Te Ruki to use the form and likeness of the taonga Uenuku before the mural proposal was acknowledged by the Museum team.

Here’s a time-lapse video of Hakahaka working on the mural.