Tohunga Whakairo - John T Rua Dip. Hons QSM



Trustees at Maungapōhatu Marae asked if John could draw up plans to rebuild Hiona, the circular meeting house purposed for council chambers that Rua Kenana designed in the early 1900’s. Within three months John had drawn full scale master plans and made a miniature model replicate.

Chief and Warrior, Te Rangatira rests peacefully in deep thought, listening and absorbing the natural sounds and rhythms of the world around him. Humble and thoughtful, it is his role to guard and protect the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of his people, their lands of today and future generations to come.

Te Rangitira

Newly carved waharoa (gateway) in 2008 for Maungapohatu Marae. The carvings depict men holding hammer and saw acknowledging the self-sufficiency of Maungapōhatu community where they have grown and harvested all their own trees to build. The dedication and hard work that begun this community continues to this day.

Renovations of the meeting house at Waikotikoti Marae in Te Whaiti were completed in 2016 with John Rua leading the team of men. John and his team worked and lived in Te Whaiti during the week to complete the top to bottom renovation of the Wharenui “Hinenui Te Po”.

My Image

whalebone patu

Patu made from whale bone sourced by Māori Affairs Department in Christchurch during the 1990’s. A chief is depicted in carving and painted with acrylic. The patu is housed in it’s own hand woven bag made from flax and adorned with paua shell.

The Tekoteko placed at the highest point of the wharenui, (the apex of the meeting house) above the Koruru, represents a tupuna of high esteem within the tribe. His job is to watch over and protect the wider Marae. His demeanor is steadfast in this obligation to protect and oversee the Marae and all that is within its realm.
The Koruru is the head or literally the face of the meeting house. A watchful and all-seeing eye of the Marae, Marae Atea and all aspects within these domains, is his purpose. The body of Koruru is embodied within the meeting house itself. He is a guardian and an ancestral leader of significance.
Pou Mataaho
Pou Mataaho is the upright centre pole that supports the ridge pole, or Tahuhu, of the meeting house on the verandah. The significance of Pou Mataaho is to connect the spiritual realm to the earthly realm, or in other words to connect tupuna with the living. Aspects of Ruaumoko are depicted in Pou Mataaho.
Tekoteko Pou Mataaho
Tekoteko Pou Mataaho is a feminine figurine depicting aspects of Papatuanuku. Half goddess, half human, she portrays both the spiritual realm of the Gods and the earthly realm of woman.
The lintel above the doorway represents the feminine aspect of the meeting house and upon entering is symbolic of returning to the womb.
Poutokomanawa, the central pole of the meeting house is the heart. he meeting housewharenui.
Tekoteko Poutokomanawa
This figurine is an ancestral leader whose role it is to welcome guests into the wharenui.

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