Our waharoa (entranceway) experience

The Waharoa (entranceway) is a key feature of the Hamilton Airport Terminal arrival experience.  Waharoa were also know as Tomokanga (narrow entrance) which assisted in controlling the amount of people moving onto marae. In this instance the Waharoa invites as many people as possible to enjoy the safety of the terminal, and to be manaaki (great hosts) by all the amazing staff.

Adorned with Kauri timber, infused into a stainless steel structure, and a design that covers both glass doors, this work embodied all layers of the celestial and terrestrial dimensions of Maaori culture.

Created to enrich the arrival experience and provide a main focal point of entry, prominent design elements in this piece include the Pekapekatau-roa (long-tail bat), Taurapa (stern of a canoe) that represents journey, Maunga (sacred mountains) that surround the area, Awa o Waikato (Waikato River) that flows throughout the region and special Manu (birds) that were located within the area.

This Waharoa is a brave statement of innovation and evolution of culture and community, and promotes the Hamilton Airport Terminal’s future desired state.

Click here for an excellent article with some further information and background.

Artist: Prof Kereti Rautangata

Iwi: Tainui, Te Arawa and Ngaiterangi. Ngaati Mahanga, Ngaati Tiipa, Ngaati Korokii, Ngaati Maniapoto, Ngaati Pikiao, Ngaati Pukenga.

Kereti Rautangata is a Kairuruku Whakairo at Te Waananga o Aotearoa, where he leads curriculum design and teaching in this programme alongside Mau rakau.  ‘Te Iho Rangi’, wharenui at Aratiatia marae, Fairfield College, Hamilton, is one of a number of projects that has been directed with his Whakairo expertise, knowledge and guidance.

In 2000, Kereti was accorded Pouwhenua status (Supreme Carver; the highest level of Priesthood) by Te Whakaruruhau Whakairo o Aotearoa, the most senior fraternity of Master Carvers of NZ.  In April 2003, he was honoured by Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, as an Adjunct Professor.  Kereti was instrumental, with Tohunga Whakairo, Master Wood Carver, Dr Paakaariki Harrison, in developing and teaching the first ever Bachelor’s degree for Whakairo in 2002-2004.  In 2005, he received the NZQA Tertiary Teaching Excellence Award for ‘Excellence in Innovation’ for his teaching skills and many diverse life-time achievements. His other passion, equal to that of Whakairo, is as a qualified, architectural design consultant.

Kereti is also highly accomplished in Maaori martial and performing arts. Over fifteen years ago, Kereti co-founded a ‘Maaori Spiritual Warrior School’ - ‘He Tua Toatanga’ - which he continues to direct through weekend workshops. To Kereti, the highest function of art, Whakairo and Mau-Rākau, is as a ‘bridge to the Great Beyond’ and a cultural tool for inner transformation.


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