Blue Swirl Reflections


Geometric swirls of a carved gateway to a Maori marae ( meeting  place) reimagined in blue, and mirrored.

Not as the carver intended, but how it was in my mind’s eye, on a day where the mood was blue, little was calm in my head and mental waves churned like the sea below the marae.

And, after a little reflection (so to speak), I’m okay with that.


A Fine Ensign


The ensign of The Royal Akarana Yacht Club furls in the breeze at Auckland’s Okahu Bay on a fine Sunday afternoon.

Simply, ensigns are naval flags.

I do enjoy a good flag, and especially the value they have to groupings of peoples as symbols and signifiers of their commonality.

Elsewhere on this blog I have discussed how symbols boil down to the essence of what is important to someone and lay that out in simple, readily understandable terms to others.

“This is who I am”; “this is what we are”.

This one ticks a few boxes with its triangular, sail-like shape and crown composed of sails and boats.

On the day I took this picture, there was practice for some international regatta, and I saw young Irish and Italian sailors at work . I could first tell where they were from by their flags!

Footnote: Akarana is a Maori transliteration of Auckland, using the phonetics of that language to spell out the English word. There are no “l” or “d” sounds in Maori, so the closest Maori sounds are used. Also, Maori words resolve in vowels.


Stare Of Taikehu


Another fearsome pou ,this time depicting  Taikehu, an ancestral figure of Auckland Maori.

See his companion piece here in my previous post: Gaze Of Hoturoa

It is the constant remembrance of tipuna (ancestors)by Maori that I admire greatly.

Western thinking  is so much in the now, and while that can be a good thing, we should not forget the sacrifice and leadership of those who have gone before. They connect and ground us to our physical and metaphysical place in the world, and they inspire our futures.

The Monolith Looms

20181029_220516 (2)20190121_22390620181114_215452 (2)in onehunga
the monolith looms
on the hill
we all see
what is missing
as keenly
as what
is left behind
the slopes of cornwall park
rolling gentle and green
a central city country estate
shared by joggers and dog walkers
scaring sheep
avoiding bulls

– excerpt from ‘Octopus Auckland: 8 Suburbs’, poem by Karlo Mila

With these words my poet friend Karlo describes the pictured hill ,Maungakiekie (One Tree Hill as it is also known) and the surrounding Cornwall Park near the suburb of Onehunga ,Auckland. Photos are from my regular visits there.Seven other suburbs also get the treatment in her analogy of my hometown as a ‘feke'(Tongan for octopus).

Footnote ,and to clarify some of the stanza: The large pine tree that once graced the summit is gone, mortally wounded in a chainsaw attack of protest almost twenty years ago by a Maori activist. What remains is the striking obelisk in the centre frame. It was conceived in times gone by as a “memorial” to the indigenous Maori people, whom many European settlers then thought would gradually die out.

However,they, like the obelisk, are still here…


20190228_204312.jpg Pictured is the tekoteko , carved figurines, representing ancestors of the Ngati Whatua,the iwi( tribe)  whose main marae is where I was working today,at Orakei ,Auckland.

Fascinating and fearsome in black! The bird of prey at the bottom is different to many such meeting houses – I need to look into the story behind it,and all three figurines,will get back if I find out more….

Gateway To The Meeting House

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The gateway to the meeting house ( or wharenui, literally “big house”) at Orakei Marae, Auckland, NZ with its ornate carvings and traditional spiral motifs. Close ups of two of the carved figures are featured in the previous post  I am lucky enough to work at this beautiful and powerful  place, delivering weekly community legal clinics in rooms behind this structure (in a considerably less ornate building I have to say).Before or afterwards, I have taken many shots of this turangawaewae (standing place) of  the Ngati Whatua iwi(tribe).Again, symbols and stories abound…