Tukutuku panels celebrate culture and Christianity at Holy Sepulchre

By Taroi Black

Weavers from around the Aotearoa have bound together to retrace the history of Māori converting to Christianity through tukutuku panels, as part of the Holy Sepulchre's 50th anniversary. The panels are inspired by a poi composed by the late Sir Kingi Matutaera Ihaka.    

Bishop Te Kitohi Pikaahu says, “It has been 50 years since this church for Māori was established in Auckland. Sir Kingi Matutaera Ihaka was our founder. Now it's me, who continues running Māori prayer in this church.”

During the formal proceedings, tukutuku panels were unveiled to reflect the journey of Christianity in Aotearoa.

“Looking at the tukutuku panels, we had a group of women who wove the tukutuku as a symbol of our Māori culture. It also represents those who have previously contributed to this church.”

The story of the panels reflects the very lyrics of the Auckland Anglican Māori Club's poi composed by the late Tā Kingi. 

Weaver, Tina Wirihana says, “For the group of us, this has been wonderful. [It] was actually quite tear-jerking for us on Friday when we came up. We came up from Rotorua and Whakatane and to see them all installed in their spaces, in particular, the timeline that it reflects the written words of Kingi Ihaka.”

“It's also inspiring for us the weavers that were involved, was how the poi was the metaphor used to communicate the message of the Gospel.”

Haka groups throughout Auckland will attend the Holy Sepulchre this month to celebrate the milestone of 50 years.