Monument anchors cultural connection

Monument anchors cultural connection

Friday, September 30, 2011

Artist Toroa Ngaia Cruden with his new sculpture at the Patea River mouth this morning. Photos by Michaela Stoneman

A new public sculpture at Mana Bay, Patea, acknowledges the shared connection all New Zealanders have with the sea.

Three years in the making, Te Ao Hou – The New World was created by local Patea artist Toroa Ngaia Cruden and installed on 29 September.  The rock, wood and steel sculpture features a tallship anchor and a kohatu, an anchor stone used by Maori, representing “the anchoring of our cultures to this country” Mr Cruden said.

“The monument acknowledges the first voyagers to this country – the Polynesian seafarers and discoverers, our connections to those travellers and the coming together of us as a people – the social integration of us all as New Zealanders.”

Mr Cruden, who is of Nga Ruahine, Te Ati Awa and Scottish descent, says the inspiration for the sculpture came from his father. 

“His stories of the Patea harbour and experiences of travelling by sea made me think about how we have lost our connection to the sea; these days we travel by land or air,” he says.

The sculpture was funded by South Taranaki Creative Communities and the Patea  Community Board Local Discretionary Fund.  The Community Board support resulted from an overwhelming positive response from the community from public consultation.

Many other local people contributed to the creation of the sculpture, including artists Ed Sandbook, Gary Prentice and Wills Harris.

“The new sculpture increases the growing cultural and artistic attractions in Patea and highlights the creative strength of the town” says STDC Arts Coordinator Michaela Stoneman.  “Visitors can get a photo of the iconic Aotea Waka and visit Aotea Utanganui – Museum of South Taranaki, then check out the Garden of Tutunui when they head down to the beach for a BBQ and a swim – awesome, unique Kiwi culture”