Columnist Thomas Tarurongo Wynne. Photo: CI NEWS/16040843
Tarai, is to build or to carve, to use a chisel to carve out something especially, but not exclusively, when we build vaka, writes Thomas Tarurongo Wynne.
kite koe i te tarai te vaka? Do you know how to carve or build a vaka? And the
same could be said for buildings as we also built buildings to live in, to
dance and celebrate in, like the Are Karioi, and to meet and discuss matters of
the missionaries came, it would not be long before they too set about to
manifest their message in wood, coral and stone, and churches began to pop up
on the new road, the Ara Tapu that would solidify their presence long after
they were gone.
buildings do just that, speak to us of something significant long after the
builders have gone.
the pyramids to the Greek and Roman temples, to the Sultan Ahmed Mosque in
Turkey or the Temple wall in Jerusalem, buildings have been a legacy to what we
as a people have held in regard, have turned our backs on, and have pointed us to
we build in our hearts, like the Are Karioi in town, starts in the heart of its
people or like the Are Karioi in the heart of former Prime Minister Sir
Geoffery Arama Henry.
is a Tapere of land that runs from the ocean next to the Tupapa Maraerenga Meeting
House, all the way up to the residence of the New Zealand High Commissioner.
and roads of all kinds lead up the gentle slopes, winding up to Ngatipa Rd.
remember my first time to Ngatipa. I was taken aback by how beautiful and
palatial it was, being there for many functions, celebrations, and formal
events, its presence a place of prestige for the New Zealand government, and
its message to us as Cook Islands Māori, is clear as you look out over its
well-manicured grounds, buildings and out to sea.
the official residence of the Cook Islands Head of State is not fit for
purpose, and in fact our current Head of State has not spent a single night in
its leaky abode.
the many of us that have also attended functions and celebrations there, it was
clear and evident, the stark contrast between Ngatipa and the Titikaveka residence
of our Head of State, and I often wondered why this was so, and what does that
say about us.
we think of the way we love and care for the house of God and its people, palaces
for our Ariki, and even some of our large local homes, something is not right
when we see such a disparity.
yes, it is just a building, but it’s not the bricks and mortar, it’s the
message it conveys.
my mind the most beautiful place for a dignitary in our country should be the
Head of State residence, because this is a reflection of who we are, and how we
see ourselves in the world, and to each other.
and Tonga have Heads of State in buildings that reflect the position and status
of these offices, and there would not be a building or office that would
supersede these. Buildings like churches and the High Commissioners residence
reflect the status of the government they serve and the office of the people in
am pleased to see there is a budget allocated that will ensure this situation
is rectified and that we have a building that speaks to the status of our Head
of State Sir Tom and Lady Marsters.
building that speaks of who we are as toketoke enua, fit for purpose, and sends
a clear message to ourselves and to all who sit in its shade, are sworn into
government, are received as overseas ambassadors, or simply witness the daily
workings of our Head of State: that the bricks and mortar, steel, and concrete
reflect the status of the office of our highest official, our country, and us
as a people.