Pole becomes symbol

What was once an uninspiring telephone pole in a Dunedin street is now a traditional Maori pou at Pine Hill School.

Pine Hill School board of trustees member Michael Prasad (second right) with Dunedin carver...
Pine Hill School board of trustees member Michael Prasad (second right) with Dunedin carver Tipene Raukura and pupils (from left) Ramari Perenara (7), Ryley Prasad (7) and Casey Quinn (10) in front of the school’s new Maori pou. Photo: Craig Baxter
The pou was created by Dunedin carver Tipene Raukura and the school is believed to be the first in Dunedin to have one.

Mr Raukura said he spent about a month carving the pou, as part of his creative studies course at Otago Polytechnic, and he had since given  it to the school.

He said it took so long because the wood was very hard. The  4.2m-tall post has a face at the top, representing the 18th-century Maori chief Poho, who lived close to the outflow of Opoho Creek (also known as Stony Creek).

In the middle of the pou is a woman’s face which represents all the female principals the school has had.

The face at the bottom represents the pou carver, Mr Raukura.The space between them represents the children.

The pou is situated in the northernmost corner of the school, and faces north, to represent all of the children who have come from the North Island and settled in Dunedin.

Pine Hill School board member Michael Prasad said the pou was unveiled this week and given a traditional Maori blessing.

"For the school, this is something really special in terms of being able to embrace another culture. It’s an awesome learning opportunity for us."


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