Carving a place in Matariki

17:00, Jul 10 2014
Petelo Esekielu
PERSONAL WORK: Petelo Esekielu is creating a carving based on his genealogy as part of a Matariki exhibition at Ruapotaka Marae.

Carving posts to support Samoan fale is a relatively new family tradition for Petelo Esekielu.

"My family's only done carving for about two generations. In Samoa you welcome people into the fale for meetings.

"One pole will signify your family genealogy. I made up my own genealogy. I modernised and New Zealand-ised it."

The trained architect designed the patterns of the carving and then gave it to master carver Ioane Savelio to produce.

The Glen Innes man is putting the finishing touches on the work in preparation for an exhibition being held at Ruapotaka Marae during Te Ara Rama Matariki Light Trail.

The Heart Movement is organising the exhibition which runs from July 19 to 26. It involves seven artworks by Maori and Pacific Islanders from the area.


The overall theme is whanau ora (family wellbeing) and the works include weaving, painting, graffit art, sculpture and installations.

Esekielu is one of the directors of The Roots Creative Entrepreneurs. The group regularly holds creative workshops with primary and high school children and is helping young people create bamboo light sculptures for the Matariki Light Trail.

Heart Movement co-ordinator Cristy Trewartha says Matariki is a time of reflection, planning ahead for the future, sharing stories and acknowledging those from the past.

"Art gives people a way to express lots of different ways of thinking. We're hoping people will come to the exhibition, go to the light trail and then sit down and have some conversations about what whanau ora means to them over a cup of tea."

Matariki Light Trail organiser Te Rangi Huata says a covered stage with entertainment by dancers and musicians from the surrounding area is a new addition to this year's event. Last year more than 5000 people attended.

Spaces are still available for performance groups at the Matariki Light Trail. Email Te Rangi Huata at for more information.

The free light trail is in Maybury Reserve and is open from 6pm to 9pm every night from July 19 to July 26.

See for the full programme of events.

East And Bays Courier