The Guardians of the Gate pou stand proudly at the entrance to the site.
Looking left to right, the first is a kahu (hawk), symbolic of the climb of a modern aircraft in flight. This pou is an acknowledgement of the recent past of the site as a Royal New Zealand Airforce base.
The middle pou represents the traditional guardian. In ancient times, pou like this stood near gateways and palisades in the fortified paa that stretched the length and breadth of the country. This pou protects all who enjoy the space at The Base.
The right hand pou is symbolic of the present day. A contemporary piece, boldly carved, this pou conveys an overall feeling of the strength and mana that Waikato-Tainui holds, and the face of modernisation for the tribe.
We are humbled to have these pou, carved by Marty Ryan, Inia Te Wiata and Maunga Emery. They are carved from Kauri and sit upon Tootara.
Throughout the site, inside Te Awa and out, you’ll notice the Niho Taniwha pattern. From our soaring Te Awa roof to doors, signage and other elements, the niho taniwha pattern links all areas of the site.
Meaning ‘teeth of the taniwha’ this saw-edged pattern is often seen on tukutuku panels and was traditionally part of the taaniko weaving on the hems of cloaks. It can represent the historian, sometimes the chief and hospitality and also family houses within a tribe.