For many visitors, our most prominent feature is the stunning pou standing proud at the main entrance to Te Awa.
‘Te Koohaoo te Ngira’ (The Eye of the Needle) provides spiritual protection at the key entrance point to the Te Awa enclosed mall and represents the tongi (prophetic saying) of the first Maaori King Pootatau Te Wherowhero who, at his coronation, said these words: “Kotahi te koowhao o te ngira e kuhuna atu ai te miro maa, te miro pango, te miro whero.” The translation: “There is but one eye of the needle, through which the white, the black and the red threads must pass.” This tongi encourages us to make connections and collaborate, working together as equals to achieve common goals.
Our pou was designed by Carvers Inia Te Wiata and Marty Ryan who initially created the pou design as a tokotoko (carved stick). CAD modelling then turned this scale model into the stunning laminated timber and stainless steel helix by Longveld Engineering.
(Early planning sketch)
Beneath Te Koohaoo te Ngira, note the Atea, an extensive in-situ concrete paving pattern along the front of Te Awa, providing a large scale whaariki for visitors to walk on. The pattern references the ecological history of the Waikato (sedgelands, taupoo, flax/harakeke) and Waikato Tainui association with the site.