Pouhaki Relocated

In 1920, Maori carver Tene Waitere gifted Prince Edward an eight-metre pouhaki, or flagpole, carved from a single tree trunk. The Prince then bequeathed the pole to Portsmouth Naval Base, where for the past 80 years it has stood forgotten in the Base’s rose garden. At a dedication ceremony attended by the New Zealand high commissioner and other dignitaries on December 4, calming Maori prayers were murmured to a spectacular work of art which has now come to rest in Cambridge University Museum. James Schuster, the great great grandson of the Maori artist, ended each stanza with words meaning “settle down, spirit, settle down”. “There’s lots of my koroua’s (great-great  grandfather’s) work all over the place,” says Schuster. He was a prolific carver. There’s even one of his wharenui (meeting house) in the Hamburg Museum. It is no exaggeration to describe this as the most important acquisition by this museum in decades, said Professor Nicholas Thomas, of Cambridge University’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Waitere was born in Mangamuku near Kaitaia in 1854 and died in Rotorua in 1931.

Tags: Cambridge University  Guardian (The)  Tene Waitere