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Cyclone anniversary taonga gifted

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Three memorial pou, representing how the Cyclone Gabrielle flooding changed people’s lives, were presented to the people of Wairoa as part of the one-year commemorations.

Created by Tama Clausen, the taonga were created out of flooding debris representing whānau, whenua, wairua and Wairoa.

Recovery Manager Benita Tahuri said the taonga symbolises the impact of the flooding on whānau and whare. “Through the use of materials affected by the flooding, Tama’s work has captured the impact on the community. The work is raw and confronting and will become a visual reminder of Wairoa’s history.”

In receiving the taonga on behalf of the community, Wairoa Mayor Craig Little acknowledged the significance of the gift and what it represents. “The concept of using flood-affected materials to create the taonga and demonstrate what so many people have been through has captured our town, our challenges and most importantly, our people.”

Artist Tama Clausen was significantly affected by the flooding himself. “When I was asked to create a taonga, I walked the streets of North Clyde to see how I could describe the Cyclone Gabrielle event. “There was so much flood-ravaged material it really became about putting a shape to it.”

Tama has deliberately left the work in an authentic form, from silt and mud to cat footprints, to depict the damage that occurred. From a log dragged off the beach to bits of flooring and walls, and even stain and paint from rusted tins, caught up in the flood but still useable, the taonga have captured a vital piece of Wairoa’s history.

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Artist Tama Clausen with the taonga he crafted as part of Wairoa’s Cyclone Gabrielle one-year anniversary commemorations.

26 February 2024

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