The hunt for taonga
24 February 2008
Rained all day
We were lucky: a craft market was held in Rotorua today, despite the rain, and we found two sources of treasure.
Bob Collins worked as a Forest Ranger, based in Minginui with a patch including Whirinaki for many, many years up till 1987. In the course of those years he collected many burrs and sections of the trees as they were felled, rescuing them from the saw mills that were then active. After retirement he took up wood turning, using the thousands of pieces of wood from those wonderful trees to make bowls. These two are mostly made from rimu.
We are very sad for the trees that were felled, but glad that this wood, rather than simply being burnt (as it otherwise would have been) has been turned into beautiful and useful pieces.
Our other taonga (treasure) was found at the stall of Iris Herewini, who sells pounamu (greenstone), bone and paua jewellery made by relatives. Both these are made by her brother-in-law, who lives in Hokatika. We had promised ourselves pounamu pieces as part of this trip and had looked at so many (including in Hokatika), but these were the ones that spoke to us.
Both are made of kahurangi (cloak of the sky) greenstone, which takes its meaning from the cloud shapes within it.
Iris was great to meet and talk with. She told us so much about the greenstone and took so much time to make sure these were the right pieces for each of us, had the right cords on, were set at the right length and so on. We spent a very happy hour talking with her, and thank her again for her friendship.