Artist: The pupils of Katikati Primary School

Year: 1998

Medium: Major Multimedia Project

Size: School Yard

Sponsored By: Katikati Primary School, Creative Communities, Western BOP Digital Council

An interpretation of our taniwha, the guardian of the park. Designed and made by the 620 children at the Katikati Primary School in 1998, the project represents the 32 cultural heritages which were represented at the school that year. Every pupil contributed to this taniwha (spirit guardian) situated beside their playground.

This multi media ‘art in the park’ was wonderfully supported by the art and craft folk, trades people and businesses, parents and staff – in fact the community of Katikati.

Beginning at the street end the greeting pole welcomes everyone in 32 languages. The terracotta poles are images of our place and the sun symbols shine on all. The ‘story poles’ display symbols of the 32 cultures whose people made their journey to Katikati by waka (canoe) sailing ship, ocean liner or by air.

The path represents the curved tail of the taniwha. The clay tiles edging it represent its scales and the mosaic tiles along the centre represent the ridges along the tail, also representing at-risk species of birds and animals.

In the belly of the taniwha are boulders and fossils – ancient images buried in the rocks from the Wharawhara stream in the valley below.

The heart of the taniwha beats in the Maori pou (pole) which is rooted in Papatuanuku, the Earth Mother, while the head faces the Kaimai Range and into the west wind. The carving above the pou faces the four winds from whence the people came. The waka atop the carving represents all the voyages to Aotearoa.