In 1990, Riki Manuel was told to carve a “little rock” that would represent the coming of Maori to Christchurch in Victoria Square. Soaring above it, would be a statutes of Captain Cook and Queen Victoria.
He said ‘nah’ and told them it should be an ‘equivalent’ size. He carved a six-foot poupou instead.
That was testing the boundaries of the city’s tolerance for visible mana whenua narratives.
The February 22, 2011 earthquake, brought an opportunity for the rebuild to include the indigenous voice.
Matapopore Charitable Trust was established to ensure Ngāi Tūāhuriri narratives were woven into the rebuild, in buildings, footpaths and public spaces, using both traditional methods such as carvers, plus the new wave of “digital natives”.
The incorporation of narratives is something Matapopore Charitable Trust chairwoman Aroha Reriti-Crofts thought she would never live to see.