Poupou unveiling V2


Whānau from NRAIT were part of a group that unveiled and blessed the first two poupou (carvings) at the Abel Tasman National Park early on the morning of Saturday 8 April. The poupou are the first of eight gateway sculptures to be placed at major entrances of the park.

With the installation of the first two poupou, the project that was more than a decade in the making, was underway at last. The location of our ancestors in these key places throughout the park highlights the relationships our families have with the rohe as manawhenua.

This project is significant for us as not only will visitors come to Abel Tasman National Park and see the natural beauty, they will also gain an understanding of the enduring history the area holds for Māori and the people of Te Tau Ihu.

These first poupou represent two rangatira, Turangāpeke and Hohaia Rangiauru.


Turangāpeke is a well-known name among NRAIT members as it is also the name of the wharenui at Te Āwhina Marae. Turangāpeke is of Ngāti Rārua, and his children were the original land owners of the Whakarewa lands in Motueka, our whenua.

The pou of Turangāpeke has been placed at Anchorage, and holds a taiaha, which is symbolic of his leadership as a warrior and strategist during the time of the heke (migrations).

Hohaia Rangiauru

Hohaia Rangiauru of Te Ātiawa, was also an original owner of our Whakarewa lands. He was the Motueka Chief of Te Ātiawa, a key figure in the historic Kaiteriteri hui of 1841. He was also fundamental in providing evidence at the 1843-1844 Māori Land Court hearings, a large part of our whānau’s history.

Hohaia Rangiauru can be seen at Medlands, holding a tokotoko, which represents his authority that he had as a chief, and with his involvement in securing the customary rights to our lands through the Land Court hearings.

Te Rauemi

The original carvings were completed by John Mutu at Te Āwhina Marae, which were then made into moulds. To increase the longevity, the carvings were replicated into concrete as they will be exposed to many natural elements such as salt water and salt air from the sea. The taiaha and tokotoko held by the individual tūpuna are made from bronze.

At the completion of the project, carvings will be found throughout the park with each poupou placed at the other prominent gateways. The tūpuna are placed in the areas closely aligned with each of them and their kōrero.

In time, the poupou will be integrated with technology, where they’ll be connected with wi-fi spots, to tell the stories of the ancestors and manawhenua through visitors’ smartphones.

This is a very exciting opportunity to ensure our legacy and our kōrero are not lost, and people from all over the world can learn about the tangata whenua through new media while also experiencing the natural beauty of the rohe.


Representatives from DoC and Project Janzoon, NRAIT members, and others from the community at the unveiling of Turangāpeke at Anchorage.