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Maori carvings revealed

By Emily Norman

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Maori carvings with a Wairarapa link were unveiled at the Wairarapa Hospital on Saturday morning.

The seven carvings, made by Wairarapa master carver Takirirangi Smith, now adorn five entranceways around the Masterton hospital site.

They were gifted to Wairarapa iwi Rangitane and Kahungunu by the Ministry of Health, which had the works commissioned in the 1980s, on the condition they remained in a health setting, if possible.

Wairarapa District Health Board chairman Derek Milne said he was “delighted” to be part of the unveiling ceremony that highlighted the partnership between the DHB and Wairarapa iwi.

“We are thrilled to receive this gift from the Ministry and acknowledge the role that Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairarapa had in securing their return,” he said.

“These carvings have a strong connection to the Wairarapa and we are proud to welcome them to our hospital for everyone to enjoy.”

Three of the carvings frame the main entrance to the hospital, and the four others are at the Emergency Department, the entrance to Selina Sutherland, above the entrance to the chapel, and above the entrance to the reception going into the medical and surgical area.

Wairarapa DHB director of Maori health Jason Kerehi said because there were five “reveals” in the different locations, “it gave us an opportunity to involve many people throughout the health sector and the community”.

His mother, Mere Kerehi, unveiled the chapel carving with Mike Johns.

Others involved with the unveilings were Wairarapa DHB chief executive Adri Isbister, Arch Deacon Hariata Tahana, Ngati Kahungunu chairman Nelson Rangi, Selina Sutherland chairman Dr Tim Mathews, Dr Janice Wenn, Wairarapa DHB chairman Dr Derek Milne, Epineha Ratapu of the Maori Battalion C Company, and Lianne Karaitiana on behalf of her son Shannon Karaitiana.

“It was nice to share that duty with everyone,” Mr Kerehi said

“There are some departments that missed out [on a carving] so we’d like to think this is just the beginning.”

People who came along to the ceremony included representatives from the Ministry of Health and Wairarapa medical centres, members of the Maori Women’s Welfare League, Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson, and New Zealand First deputy leader Ron Mark.

The master carver himself, Takirirangi Smith, did not attend the ceremony, however, Mr Kerehi said iwi and DHB leaders were “in touch with him the whole way” regarding the transition from Ministry ownership to Wairarapa.

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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