Wairaka the Lady on the Rock, Whakatane

Sam Clark


$40.00




This design represents an iconic scene of the town I call Home, Whakatane. I tried to incorporate all of the aspects of our town that people have come to love. The sun, the ocean, the Whakatane river, and the abundance of natural and cultural heritage. The story of the bronze statue springs from the 12th Century Great Migration. The women of the Mataatua Canoe, left to themselves when the men went ashore for the first time, found a waka (canoe) drifting out to sea. The paddles were tapu to women, but a high spirited teenager, Wairaka, who was the daughter of Chief Toroa, boldly seized one of the paddles and paddled the waka back to shore. As she did this, she shouted, Kia Whakatane au i ahau:, and her actions saved the women but also coined the name of the town.

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