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The landmark, carved by Caine Tauwhare, of Ngati Wheke, celebrates the navigational achievements of Maori and commemorates ancestral connections of iwi to Whakaraupō/Lyttelton Harbour.
It represents traditional knowledge and navigational tools, which Maori have held for centuries, and will be formally revealed at a special ceremony coinciding with Matariki or Maori New Year.
Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga cares for the timeball site, and chief executive Andrew Coleman said it is “very proud” to have the wonderful taonga, or treasure, and delighted to host the historic event.
"Today is the culmination of four years hard work, dedication and carving craftsmanship. The pou references and acknowledges traditional narratives from the centuries of navigation by Maori prior to the arrival of Pakeha and the creation of the Timeball Station.”
The Whakaraupo Carving Centre and Ngati Wheke proposed having a pou situated at the timeball as part of the on-site interpretation after being approached by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga in 2017.Ngai Tahu Funds subsequently approved a considerable grant for Ngati Wheke to carve the pou.
The pou replaces a temporary pou – a tryptic panel – that was installed at the reopening of the Timeball Station timeball and flagpole in November 2018.
The tower was rebuilt with the support of the community and key donors and supporters after the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 significantly damaged the much-loved iconic structure.
"Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga will always remain grateful for the support of the community which enabled the organisation to return what we see today to the Lyttelton streetscape. The building and daily dropping of the timeball at 1pm is part of Lyttelton’s history and heritage that needed to be returned and maintained,” Mr Coleman said.
"I’m delighted to be part of an added chapter to the Timeball Station’s history with the unveiling and dedication of this pou. It is a truly representative story of Aotearoa New Zealand.
"It’s also very appropriate that we unveil and dedicate the pou at a time when we celebrate and commemorate Matariki.”