Hinemoa and Tutanekai tekoteko (carved human form) have been reinstated in Rotorua’s central city, as part of the planned refresh of the area, following restoration by their original carver Albert Te Pou.
Te Pou created both carvings back in 1994 and has spent the last 12 months caring for and restoring them.
Today they were reinstated in Manawa, the heart of the city, attached to the two columns which have recently been reclad and have had lighting installed as part of the planned refresh.
Te Pou was in his mid-20s and fresh out of training at the New Zealand Maori Arts and Craft Institute at Te Puia when he first carved Hinemoa and Tutanekai
The carvings once again take pride of place at the northern entrance of the refurbished inner-city feature.
As part of the City Focus refresh, that includes the name change to Manawa (heart), the taonga have undergone a restoration process at the hands of Te Pou, bringing them back after 22 years of weathering.
The restoration process included fixes due to natural weathering and treatment of the wood using an oil-based primer and then two coats of burgundy paint, similar to the colour of the carvings in Government Gardens.
Local businesses are pleased to see the carvings return.
Stevens Rotorua business owner, Noelene Makan says "they are an important part of the inner city history. “To have them back is fantastic. The Centre looks great because of it and it just goes with the flow.”
“By their very nature they (Hinemoa and Tutanekai) bring people in and become a central focus point, which is perfect for this part of the inner city”. It’s a great start to the refresh project and I can’t wait to see the finished Manawa project.”
Deborah Kay of HelloWorld is also happy the carvings have returned. “It’s good for the community because it reflects our culture and looks really great.”