So that’s in the middle behind them, and then coming out towards the end is the koiri, which is another kowhaiwhai pattern, and that represents growth and nature. It represents food and communication, but also the government’s efforts to improve Māori affairs. It represents the growth and improvement of our leaders, and their decisions, and human rights in Aotearoa as a whole.
There’s an addition I added at the end of the mural, on the two pillars, where the mural flares away and branches off. On the right side is Whātaitai, who carved the West shore of the harbour, and who came from the Korokoro Stream, and on the left side is Ngake, who carved out the harbour and the channel to Cook Strait. They stand there on guard, on the sides of the two gods. Ngake and Whātaitai are very strong, prominent taniwha, summoned from Pukeatua, Wainuiomata area by the people of Kahui Maunga. From there they traversed over to the harbour, which became their home before it was burst open into the sea.
That’s pretty much the main symbolism. Lastly, at the top and bottom, there are the triangular patterns, they’re called niho taniwha. They represent strength, endurance, and leadership.
Murals are an opportunity to create points of reference throughout our city and acknowledge and celebrate sites of significance, enhancing mana whenua mātauranga. To see more of Ariki Brightwell’s work, you can visit her Facebook page.