Te Ara o Hinehopu is an important place pertaining to my whakapapa (genealogy). It is a short stretch of land covered in native bush that links Lake Rotoiti and Lake Rotoehu (15 km east of Lake Rotorua). From this land our sacred mountain sets the backdrop. It was through here that Hongi Hika and his warriors carried their war canoe from one lake to the next on their way to Mokoia Island, which is located in the middle of Lake Rotorua. At the time when Hinetamairu and her baby Hinehopu heard about the oncoming war party, she made an instant decision to hide her baby in the base of a matai tree. It was here Hinehopu stayed quiet, maintaining stillness, only the sound of her beating heart acknowledging her mauri (essence of life). It is from this baby Hinehopu that my whakapapa originates. The tree that kept Hinehopu safe is now known as the Wishing Tree and the road beside the tree is known as Hongi’s Track, but locals still know it as Te Rakau tipua o Hinehopu.
Te Arawa, Ngāti Awa, Whanau a Apanui, Ngāi Tahu
Lewis Gardiner is regarded as one of the most innovative and respected Māori jade artists of his generation. In 1994, he graduated in Māori Craft and Design at the Waiariki Institute of Technology in Rotorua. During his final year he was introduced to the valuable medium of pounamu (jade) and was immediately attracted to its artistic possibilities. Māori had always valued pounamu for both its hardness and for its translucent beauty. Lewis was no different — as he says, “Our tupuna (ancestors) have given us, the Māori people, the resource and knowledge base to provide a reference for us and our children for years to come.”
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