The stories around Mauao’s puna wai tapu are being celebrated by He Pou Rarama, a new artwork by local artist Tiare Dickson, located outside the Mount Hot Pools.
The stories around Mauao’s puna wai tapu are being celebrated by
He Pou Rarama, a new artwork by local artist Tiare Dickson, located outside the Mount Hot Pools.
A soak at Mount Hot Pools is renowned as one of the great activities that Mount Maunganui has
on offer — loved by locals and visitors alike, but the cultural significance of the location is
perhaps lesser known.
If you’ve been in the vicinity of Mauao this summer, you might have clocked the new pou that’s
been erected outside the pools. The artwork, He Pou Rarama, was designed by artist Tiare Dickson
of Ngāi Tūkairangi Hapū and it tells the story of the four traditional puna wai tapu — sacred springs
of Mauao. Tiare chose this story to signify Mount Hot Pools’ connection to these springs as
Te Puna Waitapu, one of the four springs, is the original hot pool used in ancient times for
bathing and healing.
The Four Springs
Puna Waitapu At the site of Mount Hot Pools, this was a thermal pool for bathing and healing
(light green design on the pou).
Waipatukākahu Located on the western side of Mauao, this was a spring that was used for
washing (deep blue).
Ruarapapari A cool water spring for drinking and bathing (light blue).
Te Kawa Waipuna The most sacred of the springs, it led into two pools. One was for birthing
children, and the other for the bathing and washing of the deceased (red).
The tale of the springs is also widely relevant. “It is meaningful to all iwi and hapū and cultures who have a connection to Mauao, so everyone will feel involved in this work,” says Tiare.
The pou was constructed by Sketch Group’s Cobus Fenwick from corten steel, rather than the more traditional wood, to ensure it withstands the harsh conditons of the sea air. The steel is intentionally designed to rust over time so it fits in with the natural surrounds.
The pou’s design work was laser cut to reveal coloured acrylic that glows with the assistance of LED lighting, so if you’re down that way after dark, you’ll get a different perspective again.