Te Puna Wai Matauranga (Blossom of Knowledge)

te puna carving

Te Puna Wai Matauraunga is located at the base of the outer stairwell on Level 0 of the Student Centre. It is of Tawhaki; carved by Bob Koko, out of macrocapa. The title of the piece suggests "Knowledge is no good without wisdom to apply it properly".

Tawhaki was a celebrated hero of Polynesia, sometimes appearing as a mortal and sometimes as a deity, but generally having supernatural powers and being depicted as gracious and generous. His fame enabled him to marry Tangotango, a celestial maiden who quarreled with him and fled back to her heavenly home, with their child. He set out with his brother Karihi to find her, looking for the vine which would help him to find his family. Matakerepo, a blind ancestress showed him the way after he had restored her sight. In the carvings, Tawhaki is shown grasping the vine with the bolt of lightning - the symbol of his divinity impressed upon his being. He is believed, by some tribes, to have brought the gifts of knowledge and religion to mankind, from the tenth realm of Rehua.