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POU — Featherston Statue

 A collaborative project between artist and designers. 

 Unveiled on Matariki 2023, this pou installed in Paetūmōkai Featherston depicts the 19th century Māori chief, Nuku Pewapewa, for his leadership and peace that he brought to the Wairarapa. A pou is post, used to define a boundary, and in this case, it marks the start of the Tauwharenikau Trail, a cycling and walking track from Featherston to Woodside, incorporating the bridge crossing of the Tauwharenikau river. 

The pou celebrates the pūrakau of Nuku Pewapewa, who led the Ngāti Kahungungu response to an incursion by Te Atiawa. It tells the story of how he used a raupō kite in the shape of a manu, to fly one of his warriors on the Wairarapa wind, over the impenetrable ramparts of the Te Atiawa Pa at night. The warrior quietly opened the gates of the pa, and by morning, Nuku and his men had taken the pa from his enemies. This secured his victory and established Nuku’s role as “Peacemaker.” 

The concept was designed by artist Edward Riwai, a descendant of Nuku Pewapewa. Its design, acknowledging local history, was made in collaboration with Pāpāwai and Paetūmōkai o Tauira whānau and the Greytown Trails Trust. 

The pou pushes the boundaries of art and design, using modern technology and materials to bring the original artwork by Riwai to life, contrasting to the traditional Māori carvings and legend it represents. We firstly carved Nuku from modelling clay, then 3D scanned, scaled up and 3D printed him in sections. Once all sections had been glued together, we sent him off to Bootleg to be fibreglassed and painted. The raupo kite is waterjet cut from aluminium in-house. His pūkāea is cast aluminium, originally 3D modelled and 3D printed in-house. 

The pou structure is a large corten steel tewhatewha weapon with a cast resin blade, lit with LED lights. Both of which were manufactured in our workshop! The rope connecting the kite is bent aluminium tube. Simone Baker from Ngāti Moe, Papawai Marae created his kākahu and poi piu from telephone wire. 


The pou was designed to teach Tamariki about Māori war-heroes through the art of kauwhata, and allow people to learn about Māori culture. An example of this is the playable pūkāea at the base of the pou, which can be sounded by visitors, teaching them about the use of this war instrument. 

This was a long and intensive project using a huge variety of design skills, materials and manufacturing methods that we had in-house, as well as collaborating with our external trusted suppliers and manufacturers. 

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