Local artists from Ngāti Hinewaka (Palliser Bay) will be demonstrating the use of traditional stone adzes at Aratoi on Sunday 6 February (Waitangi Day), in the first of a series of free public events being rolled out to accompany the major social history exhibition Wairarapa Moana.
“People will see the artists working on stone and wood, with adzes that have been handmade in the traditional way,” says the exhibition’s curator Maori, Haami Te Whaiti, who has devised the series of around 20 free events.
The artists will be working again later in the day at Queen Elizabeth Park Cricket Oval, Masterton, as part of the Waitangi Day Wairarapa Origins Festival.
“The adzes are mainly argillite, the best material for these tools next to pounamu,” says Te Whaiti. The artists gained their skills from working on a replica of a 16th century Wairarapa ‘sleeping house’ or wharepuni. The replica whare, made from tōtara posts, raupō and nīkau palm fronds, was built at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in 1997 by Ngāti Hinewaka members. Stone adzes were also traditionally used to construct waka.