Tāne Mahuta ‘breathes life’ into Westlake’s rich culture

Earlier this year we profiled the amazing Emma Ormsby in The Voice. Our former Service Prefect for Akoranga House was named New Zealand’s Top Scholar in Sculpture with the maximum possible marks awarded.

Last week Emma gifted this magnificent piece “Hine-ahu-one and Tāne” to Westlake Girls High School, and it now stands proudly in our reception greeting visitors to our school. In Emma’s words: “This piece encapsulates a significant pūrākau (legend/story). It depicts Tāne Mahuta (God of the forest and of all living things) breathing life into the first woman Hine-ahu-one (Earth-formed maiden). It is the birth of women as we know it and the significance of the hongi (the breath of life) within our traditional Māori customs for greeting. It is a celebration of Mana Wāhine or womanhood and all they encompass and contribute to the world.”

Emma says the wairua (spirit) of the piece is of growth and creation. “It is a symbol of hope, connection and strength,” she says. “As well as being a celebration of women, it is also a celebration of Māoritanga at Westlake. It is ‘breathing life’ into the rich culture at Westlake and providing a connection to the Tangata Whenua (people of the land).”

As well as studying a conjoint Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Arts in Māori Studies at the University of Auckland this year, Emma has also come back as an Art Technician at Westlake, and we are delighted to have her here sharing her knowledge and expertise.

Emma is pictured above right with Principal Jane Stanley. Below is Matua Eddie Hudson and his Kapa Haka students at the blessing.

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