Star waka

Star Waka acknowledges past, present and future voyaging to and from Aotearoa in all directions, with the stars reflecting navigation patterns over time and space. Together, the waka and the stars symbolise the universe and the binding together of ira atua (the realm of the gods) and ira tangata (the realm of humans).

Star Waka is also the title of Robert Sullivan’s book of poetry, which engages with the imagination and encapsulates our vision to create a symbolic waka in a star-studded universe.

Words and symbols that underpin our kaupapa:
Taura here: binding together to create strength and kinship, like strands in rope
Tuia: stitching, lashing or binding together (e.g. tukutuku panels in a whare/lashings on a waka)
Continuum: from past to present to future (whakapapa, migration, materials and techniques)
Whare, waka, body: taahuhu (ridge pole, spine, ancestral line) and heke (rafters, ribs)
Protection: mata ariki (god’s-eye star forms), e.g. white feathers used on waka for safe passage
Navigation: stars and clouds
Exchange: interaction, community participation, making, teaching, gifting

Presented by Ngā Turuturu o te Tara (Coromandel Weavers Collective) with Maureen Lander and Chris Charteris. A special acknowledgement to Maryann Talia Pau of The One Million Stars to End Violence project. This project was first activated in Whitianga for Tuia 250 commemorations sponsored by Ministry of Culture and Heritage Tuia 250.

Drop-in activities are back!
Visitors are invited to create a star to add to the installation. It is traditional to give away the first thing you make. Create a star and gift it to the star waka, then take the others with you. You may be able to collect a star at the end of the exhibition.

Star Waka is all about manaakitanga, providing an enjoyable experience to all who would like to join in and be involved. — Maureen Lander

12 December - 28 February 2021

Photos by Sam Hartnett