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Te Pae Whīra o Pā Harakeke - the design story

January 2023

The cultural design for Te Pae Whīra was completed by mana whenua artists from the Iwi Toi Kahungunu Artists Collective. For Te Pae Whīra, the collective interpreted a design brief completed by children from Pā Harakeke Flaxmere.

The land beneath Te Pae Whīra o Pā Harakeke was once the point where the braided river Ngaruroro Mokotuararo ki Rangatira formed a singular channel as it flowed across the Heretaunga plains to the sea. The harakeke that thrived along its banks inspired the two names the area is known by: Pā Harakeke and Flaxmere.

Throughout the 1800s flooding shifted the course of the rivers across this area, leaving behind the shingle plain on which Flaxmere was built. The whakapapa genealogy of this natural change is reflected in the design of the surfaces and structures of Te Pae Whīra, while the landscaping pays homage to harakeke

Three designs are interwoven on the paving, representing a whāriki woven mat:

· Pātiki Flounder symbolises manaakitanga, abundance and hospitality, welcoming people into the space.

· Kaokao Chevron represents interlocked arms, welcoming manuhiri visitors with its haka stance serving as a cautionary sign.

· Takitoru links back to the way traditional sails were woven in a takitahi pattern, representing open communication.

The waharoa and poupou gateway is inspired by a strand of harakeke. The simplistic and overstated design of the waharoa and poupou is a contemporary approach to a traditional gateway. The corten steel, which will weather to a rust-like colour, adds to the industrial feel of the skate plaza, while the back-lit panels bring vibrancy and colour. The waharoa and poupou both incorporate designs of a kaitiaki using the Pitau-a-Manaia kōwhaiwhai form, while the swirling pattern represent the currents of the Ngaruroro and the healing winds of the Heretaunga plains. The incorporation of skate elements celebrates the use of the site today.

The ramp walls reflect the Mangokoru kōwhaiwhai blasted into the concrete ramp walls. Mangokoru is a design specific to Kahungunu, developed by artists of the Iwi Toi Kahungunu collective. Incorporating the Mangokoru within Te Pae Whīra celebrates our local Kahungunu identity. The three oxidized concrete colours on the skateable areas represent the three strands of the Ngaruroro.


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