A Maori artwork installed outside the UK High Commission to honor the work of the outgoing diplomat
Te Āti Awa’s Kura Moeahu, sculptor Anton Forde, High Commissioner Laura Clarke and High Commission staff member Tredegar Hall stand behind the newly unveiled sculpture.
A Maori artwork sits outside the gates of the British High Commission in honor of the work of the outgoing British High Commissioner and the relationship between Maori iwi and the UK.
Two carved kōhatu (stones) have been placed outside the commission and the Pipitea Marae to recognize the history of the whenua and the contributions of High Commissioner Laura Clarke to strengthening links between Maori and the British government.
Named Tū Tika o Nehe and Rauaroha, the sculptures by artist Anton Forde recall the relationship between the high commission and iwi, said Kura Moeahu, president of Te Rūnanganui o Te Āti Awa.
“We’re here to right the wrongs of the past, and we just know from history that the past hasn’t been kind, but it’s a reminder to workers who come here that we can change,” Moeahu said. .
* Sixteen City of Wellington finalists for the prestigious Parkin Drawing Prize
* Mixed media artist spends hours on his work
* Wellington Architecture Prize winners showcase ‘humility and restraint’
“Before her, the commissioner at the time… wanted to change things, and he had just started. Laura came in and took it to the next level,” he said. “I just wish him the best.”
Sculptor Forde incorporated the stars and a contemporary unaunahi (fish scale pattern) on both sculptures which were made from a fine-grained volcanic rock from Taranaki.
He said it was an honor to create this work.
“Laura’s relationship with Pipitea Marae, her mahi around biculturalism and environmental actions as well as trade agreement negotiations impacted Aotearoa, Te Āti Awa and her home country’s understanding of the obligations of Te Tiriti,” he said.
Forde said the work was not about him but about the land and the people.
“For me, I can only spend so much time with these works, the historical significance of what they symbolize and what they are.” He said, adding: “It split up so nicely, you know, after millions of years and all that geological pressure, when I brought it home and back to the yard, it was just wow. “
Clarke said the sculptures were really special.
“It symbolizes … the historic relationship between the UK and the iwi Māori, and this cooperation and shared aspirations for the future.”
Laura Clarke has served as high commissioner since 2018 and will have her last day in office on Thursday.
The sculptures were commissioned by philanthropists Andrew Barnes and Charlotte Lockhart in collaboration with Te Āti Awa.