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'Makes me sad': Pou whenua overlooking Lyttelton Harbour stolen

Author
Pierre Nixon,
Publish Date
Mon, 8 Apr 2024, 3:11pm
The sculpture was carved from totara for the Summit Rd Society. Photo / Ngāi Tahu
The sculpture was carved from totara for the Summit Rd Society. Photo / Ngāi Tahu

'Makes me sad': Pou whenua overlooking Lyttelton Harbour stolen

Author
Pierre Nixon,
Publish Date
Mon, 8 Apr 2024, 3:11pm

A symbolic pou whenua sculpture on the John Jameson lookout on Summit Rd in the Christchurch Port Hills has been stolen.

The Ōrongomai sculpture, made by Ngāti Wheke carver Caine Tauwhare, was carved from totara for the Summit Rd Society and symbolises the significance of Ōrongomai to Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke.

The sculpture was carved from totara for the Summit Rd Society. Photo / Ngāi Tahu
The sculpture was carved from totara for the Summit Rd Society. Photo / Ngāi Tahu

“The carving is shaped like a taringa (ear) and evokes the nearby peak, Ōrongomai, which means ‘the place where voices are heard’,” a joint statement from the Summit Road Society and Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke said.

The lookout, where the sculpture was stolen from, is named after Summit Road Society founder John Jameson.

His daughter, Paula Jameson, the society’s acting president, said she was devastated by the theft.

“We put years into creating the lookout in memory of my father, and the pou whenua is integral to it. We’ve had so much positive feedback from the community about it since it was installed and to lose it now is devastating.”

The society commissioned Caine Tauwhare to create a pou whenua (post marker) when it redeveloped the lookout.

The society commissioned Caine Tauwhare to create a pou whenua (post marker) when it redeveloped the lookout. Photo / Ngāi Tahu
The society commissioned Caine Tauwhare to create a pou whenua (post marker) when it redeveloped the lookout. Photo / Ngāi Tahu

The theft was reported to police on April 2 after the sculpture was taken sometime over the Easter weekend.

“I don’t know who did this or why, but it makes me sad. I just want them to bring it back,” Tauwhare said.

The carving is 1.5m tall and stood on a 2.5m high plinth, weighing about 60kg.

It was also fixed in with bolts, that were welded in place.

“They would have needed to cut it out with a grinder,” Tauwhare said.

“It would have taken three or four people to get it off and carry it.”

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