Rāpaki goes international in Paris, France

The Rāpaki Garden Project: Te Pūtake, a permanent Māori garden in France, was launched to over 70 European media representatives at the New Zealand Embassy in Paris, on 4 April. Hosted by the New Zealand Ambassador, Rosemary Banks, it was attended by the Moselle Conseil General, Vice President, Francois Levergne, (who has visited Rāpaki), along with Head of Culture & Tourism, Bernard Herzog and the French Te Pūtake Project Director, Pascal Garbe. David Carter, the Speaker of the NZ House of Representatives also attended with his whānau.

Tutehounuku (Nuk) Korako (Rāpaki), the New Zealand Te Pūtake project director, led the New Zealand team and presentation and NZ Embassy staff provided the waiata kīnaki.

Nuk paid particular attention to Rāpaki’s plight during and after the 2011 earthquake and also highlighted the numerous benefits associated with his Te Pūtake initiative. These included developing a sister village relationship between Rāpaki and Laquenexy in France and developing written resource booklets pertaining to Kāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe and Waitaha stories in French and Māori.

The Rāpaki kapa haka will be showcased internationally at the opening of Te Pūtake in France; and tourism opportunities targeting Te Pātaka o Rakaihautū (Banks Peninsula) and profiling Rāpaki as the centrepiece are being developed.

Ngāi Tahu artisans, Priscilla Cowie, Ariana Tikao and Kuru Gray will be featured at Te Pūtake, with artisan exchange programs being developed. Engagement programs for Lyttelton Main, Governors Bay, the Bilingual Unit and Woolston Primary Schools with Laquenexy school are being developed, following a visit by the Laquenexy School Head Mistress last December.

Te Pūtake was designed by Perry Royal and the whakairo pieces were done by master carver, Riki Manuel, who carved our whare tipuna Wheke. Riki is in France at the moment assisted by Te Ari Prendergast installing the whakairo within Te Pūtake. A 52,000-year-old kauri stump and a 200 kilo kōhatu pounamu of kawakawa are still on their way from New Zealand by ship.

The Whakatuwherataka o Te Pūtake (opening ceremony) will take place in Laquenexy on 30 May and will be attended by 600 people. Over 7000 people are now confirmed to visit the garden during the five-day opening festivities.

Centrepiece of Te Pūtake Rakaihautū Koo Tuhiraki.

The waharoa and Tuhiraki whakairo pieces.

Vice President of the Moselle Conseil General Francios Levergne and Nuk.