Waka Centerpiece for Exhibition

June 9, 2018

A few heads were scratched when a 6.2-metre waka, carved from a 700-yearold matai log from the Otaki River, needed to be installed in Waikanae’s Mahara Gallery.


The waka or Kopapa, bearing the name Toro, is the centerpiece of the Gallery’s Matariki exhibition, Mahinga Kai which opens on Friday 15 June.


But the design of the building, formerly the town’s old library, didn’t make getting the waka into the Gallery easy.


The waka is the work of Otaki painter, sculptor and occasional carver, Hariata Ropata Raukawa and carver and experienced waka-maker, Len Taylor.


Hariata says the waka is a small example of the sheltered water craft that were used from

Paekakariki to Waikanae wetlands, and up to Otaki.


Gallery Director Janet Bayly says the waka is an ideal centerpiece for the exhibition because

Matariki was, among other things, about people gathering for feasting to celebrate the New Year.


The exhibition will be formally opened by Kapiti Coast District Council Mayor, K Gurunathan at 5pm on Friday 15 June and will be complemented by shared kai and live music.


The opening will be preceded by a performance from Kapanaui Kapahaka at 4.00 pm in Mahara Place.

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