Allie Hemara-Wahanui, Kaiarahi Deputy Chief Executive, said the pou are of great significance to Te Kura Matini o Taranaki (WITT) and are a part of our strategy Te Korowai Mātauranga Māori o Taranaki.
“The pou were unveiled during a ceremony, revealing new artwork that had been placed surrounding each pou. WITT graduate Bonita Bigham did the artwork design,” she said.
Bontia Bigham was a graduate of the Diploma in Journalism and Creative Arts when WITT offered this programme and was also a kaimahi on the journalism programme.
Hemara-Wahanui said Bonita has extensive experience in this area curating and exhibiting regularly in a gallery she established in her hometown of Manaia.
The pou are markers of time, kaupapa and people. Hemara-Wahanui acknowledged that Matariki provided the perfect time for unveiling the pou.
“Through these pou, we acknowledge the past, celebrate the present, and plan for the future. Matariki is also about celebrating the past, present and the future, so it was a perfect time for an unveiling,” she said.
“10 years ago, these pou were erected under the leadership of Richard Handley (Chief Exceutive 2009-2012) and have stood as kaitiaki welcoming the community to this whenua and this kura.”
“Now under the leadership of John Snook and with the support of the WITT Board we have added our chapter to these pou. We have strengthened our identity and added to the story of why we are here.”
“Our purpose is to connect people to their future, providing education to the region that prepares people for employment. The more ākonga we engage, the more employment opportunities they can benefit from and in turn this region will benefit,” she said.