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Rotorua to leave long-term cultural mark on MEETINGS

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Rotorua to leave long-term cultural mark on MEETINGS
With Rotorua as the host of MEETINGS, show owner Business Events Industry Aotearoa (BEIA) has received a taonga – a highly prized treasure – in the form of a beautiful wood carving from the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute in Rotorua.

Called Waka Putanga, the carving represents a small-scale front-end prow of a waka – a Māori canoe – and is carved from a 3,000 year-old kauri log. The carving is a nod to those who travelled overseas to attend MEETINGS.

“The two stylised figures represent tangata ora (the living) – the people who will be at MEETINGS and the people of BEIA,” said Hohepa Peni, a wood carving tutor who led the creation of the carving with students from the institute.  

Rotorua to leave long-term cultural mark on MEETINGS

“This form is also in putanga style, which means ‘to emerge’, to step out. We’ve also tried to keep this culturally accessible to all and we have contemporised the piece with hollowing out techniques which are more sculptural, to show off the rākau [timber] – it’s not over designed because it’s beautiful kauri.

“The pāua (abalone) shell inlays are an acknowledgement of travellers converging like rivers or seas.

“The kura (feathers) represent the dreams everyone brings for the future. At MEETINGS, attendees are looking for connections and outcomes to make their dreams become a reality. The feathers in an indigenous context connect us back with our tūpuna (ancestors),” he said.

The taonga will be displayed at MEETINGS each year going forward and kept at the BEIA offices in between.

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