Muruika Soldiers' Memorial, Ōhinemutu

Muruika Soldiers' Memorial, Ōhinemutu

The Sentinel

The Muruika Soldiers' memorial at Ōhinemutu. The Sentinel demonstrates two important aspects: the soldier and 'The Memory Stands.' The memorial was commissioned by Henry McGowan and crafted by Paki Wilson (Head Carver) from seasoned kahikatea.

The first aspect, the soldier, symbolises the Māori recruit as he left Aotearoa for the battlefields of the First and Second World Wars. He has no markings of rank and is not made in the image of anyone specifically. He stands overlooking Lake Rotorua and the graves of his fallen comrades.

The second aspect: the literal translation of the name given for this pou is ‘ The Memory stands’. This aspect symbolises servicemen and soldiers who did not return to home and remain buried overseas.

Tu Te Mahara is a play on words, which refers to Tūmatauenga - the patron of War and of mankind. Wherever there is war Rongo (the deity of peace) accompanies Tū (God of war). The right side of a person was traditionally believed to be associated with Tū while the left side is associated with Rongo. The carving symbolises this traditional relationship and belief through a larger left border than right. Even though our forefathers went to war, the ultimate goal was peace. This type of symbolism is a traditional aspect of Māori art.

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