Te wiki o te Reo – Aotea Utanganui cast glass

Aside from the Wairua Bowl, there is another cast glass piece in the foyer; this piece is a collaboration between two artists, Philip Nuku and Emma Camden, that was facilitated by the South Taranaki District Museum Trust.


The piece is called Aotea Utanganui and embodies the spirit of the museum and its name. This cast glass work is the prow of a waka taua (war canoe). The two manaia (beaked figures) represent Turi and his wife Rongorongo. The designs on the centre piece are te aka kūmara (sweet potato vine) separated by pakiti haehae (the passing of knowledge). Pakiti haehae represents the tātua (belt) where Rongorongo carried the kūmara.

The piece can also be seen as a ship with a decorated sail signifying the many people who have journeyed to these shores.

Philip Nuku developed the design and carved the wax; Emma Camden cast the glass.

These two works are indicative of the spirit of the museum, of the way we seek to honor our ancestors and celebrate the stories of South Taranaki. For information on general pronounciation of any Maori words go here.

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