WHEN thinking about creating a name for Te Hokai: Male Survivors Tairawhiti, artist Nick Tupara sat on the riverbank in Turanga – where the three rivers meet – to reflect on what that might look like.
Talking at Te Hokai’s launch in April 2021, Nick spoke of walks around the awa (river) and over the bridges, and how that reminded him of the korero that greenstone once came around the East Cape looking for home.
And he thought of a karakia about Tane’s ascent through the different levels of the heavens to gain the three baskets of knowledge.
To illustrate that kaupapa, fellow artist Tai Kerekere designed an image of a tekoteko (carved figure) crouching over to represent how people, when sharing their mamae (hurt), go into themselves rather than standing straight and tall.
The hand is reaching out like someone trying to reach out but not knowing where to go, Tai said at the launch. The other arm is on the hip like how sometimes men put their hands on their hips and go, ‘oh well this is how it is . . . is this how it will be?’.
The introduction of a feather motif reminds us to tread lightly when speaking about our mamae, and also represents founding Te Hokai peer worker, Winton Ropiha.
Winton treads lightly (and) is gone like a feather when his work is done, says Tai. And the manaia head on the end of the feather represents him as a leader of this kaupapa.