Waka Park/Queen Mother Elizabeth Garden Project, Main Street Eketāhuna

In the early part of the century the Queen Mother Elizabeth Garden became derelict and the redevelopment plan was established to acknowledge the many centuries of history here in Eketāhuna and our shared history since 1873 and provide a community marae/courtyard where formal greetings and discussions can take place and occasions can be marked such the commemoration of Queen Elizabeth II’s seventy year reign upon her death in 2022, and the first appearance before sunrise of Matariki in the north-eastern sky indicating the beginning of the Māori year.

Russel Gaskin and Warren Chase were commissioned to carve a waka tiwai and were gifted a Totara from the Nireaha Native Reserve which had been undermined by flood waters on the Mangatainoka river. Stage one of the developement.

Carving – hollowed out, the arrival of chisels, the carving underway.

The naming and blessing ceremony. From Left, Tipene Chase, Dave Shannon and two local tamariki.

On The River – Chad Duffy in prow and Liam Potangaroa-Carter in the stern.

Te kotahitanga o Eketāhuna . Waka Tiwai which is a waka designed for travelling in shallow and narrow waterways. Stage two of the developement.

Entrance – te waharoa nga poukaitiaki Ranginui and Papatūānuku and wall carvings – symbolic waka taua.

Commemorative plaque – Queen Mother Elizabeth Garden to commemorate the 100th Birthday of Her Royal Highness The Queen Mother 4th August 2000 and waka naming carving.

Presentation of the hoa – RenaTyler, then Chair of Our Town, Bridget Wellwood, then Chair of the Museum and Warren Chase.

“Mihi ki te Kuini” the Marae, the area on Main Street known as The Waka Park.

Features Ngā poukaitiaki (sentries) Ranginui and Papatūānuku supported by Pā Tūwatawata (palisades) on the left, ngā kohatu (rock’s) on the right, and the Waka tiwai with the pou Tangaroa and Tane at either end, on the backwall the name of the Waka, Te Kotahitanga, where the Queen’s memorial plaque was, which is now on the back of the carved seat supported by two wahine Rangatira, Hotuwaipara and Reretua. Adorning the southern wall is the symbolic carving of a Waka Taua (war canoe) and a beautiful mural of Ngā whitu o Matariki painted by Stella Governor a young local artist.
Mihi ki te Kuini te Kotahitanga o Eketāhuna tiihei mauri ora.