228 Main Rd, Tairua 3508
P: 07 864 7204
M: 027368 1181
Open every day
10.00am to email@example.com www.thelittlegalleryoffinearts.co.nz
‘The Little Gallery of Fine Arts’
The little GALLERY
of fine ARTS
The little GALLERY of fine ARTS
offers a little of the best
on the Coromandel.
Souzie Speestra’s paintings reflect a lifelong love affair with the
sea and the Hahei area which she now calls home. Her use of
lustrous bright colors captures the essence of NZ. View Souzie’s
popular art at Bread & Butter in Whitianga and The Little Gallery
of Fine Arts in Tairua. Visitwww.souziespeerstra.co.nz.
part article we wrote in
(See the online archived
versions of Issues 1 and 2 for the stories atwww.coromandellife.co.nz.)
One such tree is ‘Kohatumaurakau’ or “Tree Holding
Stone’ on Tairua’s Beach Road. It has entwined itself
around a huge stone which was considered sacred. It was here many
Maori buried the placenta or umbilical cord of their babies, as was
custom, in any crevice that could be found. “If this stone could speak,
the stories it must hold.” suggested Moana.
The rich symbolism of the Pohutukawa embracing the beginning and
end of life explains the celebrated spiritual significance and importance
of this magnificent tree, and how it had such an easy time being
adopted as the Kiwi Christmas tree, a stunning local equivalent for the
traditional red berries and leaves of the holly branch. The tree even
inspired “A Pohutukawa Carol,” written by homesick WWII chaplain Ted
Forsman in which he made reference to “your red tufts, our snow”.
In his stunning book,
Pohutukawa and Rata, New Zealand’s Iron-hearted
, Philip Simpson celebrates the Pohutukawa and Rata. retelling
many stories that have contributed to their becoming such “beloved
symbols of Aotearoa…” He dubs them ‘iron-hearted’ due to their
extraordinarily strong wood, and details the particular adaptations that
enable their proliferation in our coastal margins and forests.
Simpson explains that “according to one whakapapa (genealogy),
Pohutukawa is descended from Tangaroa, the god of the sea, and two
of his offspring, Hutu… and Kawa. The tree is sometimes known as
Hutukawa which is also the name for a ceremonial headdress made of
red feathers, worn by esteemed leaders.” (See bottom of page.)
HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE, ENDURING USES
Many Pohutukawa were planted by Maori to mark places of
importance. At Tapu Point on the Whangarei Harbour, trees grow at
a battle site, and more exist on the pa (fort) site at Butler Point at
Whangaroa Harbour. The banks of Lake Tarawera have groves of some
highly valued Pohutukawa and Tuhua (Mayor Island) is renowned for its
The density of the wood made Pohutukawa difficult for Maori to work
with – too heavy to float and too hard to shape – but was traditionally
used for weapons, anchors, tools, lintels, walking sticks, and fish
hooks. There were also a multitude of medicinal uses, and Pohutukawa
sawdust gives a sweet flavour and golden hue when smoking fish. It
was a valuable firewood as it burns even when still green.
The wood was used by early colonists for a wide range of building
projects, particularly where durability was required, which led to the
common name of ‘ironwood’. Pohutukawa wood has even been used in
ship building; during World War II 45 tugboats were built for the US Navy
and Army and 14 more for British and NZ forces.
Honey from Pohutukawa is mild with a salty taste and sets hard rapidly
due to its very high glucose content. It must be removed from the comb
on harvest day and creamed quickly. Queen Elizabeth was sent six five-
pound tins on the event of her coronation by NZ beekeepers and it is
rumoured that she still enjoys it on her toast for breakfast.
However, the symbolism most dear to the Kiwi heart is that the
blossoms herald the holiday season, and its carpet of blossoms
decorate our beaches for the long days of enjoying the Summer sun.
produced a comic strip (and
later books) featuring two Pohutukawa
fairy babies called Hutu and Kawa, who
lived in the bush with friends such as
Willy Weka and advisor Grandpa Kiwi.
Far ahead of their time, these 1950s
Kiwi classics show a real concern
for the preservation of our precious
wildlife and the environment.WWW.COROMANDELLIFE.CO.NZ