Staff from Te Auaha, Whitireia and WelTec along with engineers, architects, and construction workers watched the sacred ceremony as the mauri stone was laid beneath the ground floor foyer.
"Tānekaha" - representing the son of Awanuiarāngi - is the name of the mauri stone which was sourced from the Waiongania River in Taranaki, a place of special significance to the ancestors of Te Ātiawa and Ngāti Toa.
Kura Moeahu (pictured above) from Te Ātiawa said the energy or life-force of Te Auaha is contained in the mauri stone and that staff would now become its guardian. Jeanette Grace from Ngāti Toa said the mauri stone provided a sense of being "strong and confident" that would exemplify campus life when the facility opens early in 2018.
Chris Gosling, the Chief Executive of Whitireia and WelTec, the tertiary education institutes who have established Te Auaha, said the laying of the mauri stone represented what it is to be a New Zealander and exemplified the place of Te Auaha as a proud Wellington, New Zealand and Pacific- centred institute of creativity. "Today marks a significant milestone on the journey of our new creative technologies and applied arts campus, Te Kāhui Auaha, which will be a focus of creativity for aspiring film directors, producers, musicians, artists and artisans, jewellers, photographers, graphic designers, animators, broadcasters and stage and screen performers," says Chris Gosling.
Te Auaha Director, Victoria Spackman, accepted the honour and challenge laid down by Mr Moeahu of being a guardian for the mauri stone and its significance to the building, the staff and students of Te Auaha. “The ceremony reminded us all of the important link between Te Auaha and the two iwi we work with closely. The presence of the stone will shape the way we work in Te Kāhui Auaha,” she said.