Planting the tawa trees

The winners of the six various categories at the recent Tawa Community Civic Awards were each given a framed certificate and a tawa tree sapling. As the 'trees' were already more than 1.5 metres high, and will grow a whole lot taller in the years to come, three of the six winners decided it was not ideal to plant their trees on their own properties.

After consultation with the Friends of Tawa Bush Reserves, three tawa trees were planted in an appropriate part of Willowbank Park on a recent Saturday morning, 23 August 2008.

The pics above show two of the planted trees. The second shot features the tree shown in the first pic, but looking in the other direction - not quite so easy to distinguish the two trees against the backdrop! The third tree can be seen in the photo below along with Robin Thomson (Friends of Willowbank) and Richard Herbert (Civic Award winner and president of the Friends of Tawa Bush Reserves). The other two trees 'belong' to Karen Hill and Allan Todd.

[Click on above pics to enlarge].

The photo below was taken several days after the photos above. Karen, Charles and Georgia have just planted the whenua (afterbirth) of Karen and Charles' first grandchild, Maui Dante Salvatore Gifford Passarello under the native tree that Karen received with her Civic Award.

After the birth of a baby it is customary Maori practice to bury the whenua (afterbirth) in the land, most often in a place with ancestral connections. This act has deep cultural significance. Underpinning it is the belief that human beings were first made from earth, from the body of Papatuanuku (the earth mother). Whilst Tawa is not a place of ancestral connection to the family, it is a place of spiritual connection - it is the birthplace of Mana Tiaki (a local Maori whanau network). With his whenua buried under his grandmother's tree in a public reserve, Maui can visit 'his' tree for years to come. It is also buried on the banks of the river that runs through Willowbank, absorbing the water as its life force.

Tuatahi ko te wai, tuarua whnau mai te tamaiti, ka puta ko te whenua

When a child is born the water comes first, then the child, followed by the afterbirth (whenua)

Inu mai, inu mai, i ng wai kaukau o o tkpuna

Drink, drink, drink of the bathing waters of your ancestors.

Pics from earlier weeks