Waharoa- Te Rangi Aoao Nunui
Bronze exterior archway- Cast bronze, solid bases (whakawae) with a fretwork of spirals and figures decorating the lintel (pare).
Carved interior doors- Carved totara timber panels depicting ancestral figures with the Tuara kuri pattern (notch pattern) as the main infill used on the arms, legs and vertical frieze. The carved panels separate the four large colour steel painted panels that have stylised matakupenga (net) patterns using a painted repetitive "notch" which is derived from the carved tuara kuri pattern.
The interior Tupuna (from left when facing)
Rangi Rārunga (m), Tarawhakauka (F), Ruaroa (m), Te Whiti Rongomai (1st), Te Aniwaniwa (m), Rongouaroa (f), Te Rangi Āpitirua (m)
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In December 2006 the Kaumātua Kaunihera (Elders Committee) o ngā Whare Taonga o Puke Ariki invited artists to submit proposals to embellish the exterior and interior of the Puke Ariki ceremonial entranceway.
Artists were asked to reference Puke Ariki’s historical location and Statement of Principles in their submission:
‘One Mountain Many Stories’
The integrity of the institution and its work will lead to a celebration of people, events and acknowledge diverse values and beliefs. From there will come common ground.
Supported by guests and the people of Ngāmotu (New Plymouth) the Ceremonial Entrance Te Rangi Ao Ao Nunui was blessed and opened on the 16th March 2010 by Rangikotuku Rukuwai and Dr Huirangi Waikerepuru.
Te Rangi Aoao Nunui- Puke Ariki Ceremonial Entrance:
This entranceway is used on formal occasions such as pōwhiri (Māori customary welcome) to greet guests for important occassions. The name, decoration and designs reference the mana (significance and prestige) of Puke Ariki as a portal to the Taranaki region and its people. The doors mark a physical and conceptual threshold - offering protection when closed and connection when opened.
The area in front of the ceremonial doors is the marae ātea (courtyard) named Te Parahuka, while the nearby stone carving is named Karanga. Te Rangi Aoao Nunui is a name associated with the legendary ancestor Māui Tikitiki whose famous exploits are known throughout Polynesia.
"Ko Piki mai rawea te matau, Ko Te Rangi ao ao nunui te kupenga nā Māui, I whawhai atu ai ki Tamanui te ra..."
Concepts outlined by the designer and artist: Glen Skipper
The opening of the doors activates a spiritual and cultural transition point. The doors swing outwards to join the exterior bronze archway. The carved figures form a corridor, flanking approaching manuhiri (visitors) guiding them into the entranceway towards the hau kāinga (home people). The design affirms the importance of the occasion and helps to set and maintain the tikanga (order and purpose).
The overarching design element of the bronze archway and interior carvings is the stylised pattern called matakupenga (netting design). Wide net designs stretch out to capture and hold central figures. This pattern is unique to our region and references the exploits of the famous demigod Māui as he attempted to use his knowledge and skills for the betterment of his people. The attributes associated with the matakupenga design are emphasised again and again by repeating the designs.