Thursday 8 March 2012: Tumatauenga
This carving of Tumatauenga, Maori God of war holding a taiaha stands outside Eden Park in Auckland, only a couple of kilometres or less from where I stay. The taiaha is a traditional combat staff, and is used in a formalised fashion in the wero, the traditional challenge by the tangata whenua (the people of the land, that particular land) when welcoming the manuhiri (visitors) onto the land.
Anywhere that battle occurs is known as Te Marae Atea a Tumatauenga (the battle domain of Tamatauenga). Games of rugby between the teams of different countries are often described using terms familiar from descriptions of past battles, and certainly the intensity and at times ferocity is reminiscent of that of the ancestors.
Therefore, this carving in wood states that here is Te Marae Atea a Tumatauenga, and Tumatauenga himself is issuing the wero; a challenge to visitors to come in peace, or beware.
Because of the overcast sky and it being late in the evening, the photograph was initially very dark. I made adjustments to exposure, shadows and contrast, and confess I am rather pleased with how well I was able to rescue it to show what I saw.