‘Waiawangawanga’ is the original name of the river south of Masterton, the ‘Waingawa’. It was named during the journey of Haunui-a-nanaia who traveled from Rimutaka pass and up the Wairarapa valley. Haunui was responsible for naming many landmarks in the Wairarapa including all of the major rivers he crossed. Waiawangawanga means river of uncertainty or troubled waters, because of its numerous twists and turns and Haunui was unsure of where to cross safely. Today the Waingawa River still retains its many braided channels.
The color red is a significant one in the natural world and it can have several meanings.
Some plants use bright reds to attracted bees and birds for pollination or germination. For other plants it is a sign of warning to ward off creatures from its danger.
Throughout New Zealand the Wairarapa has been known for its eels. The old people tell stories of the rivers and streams running thick with tuna. However over the last 100 years the eel numbers has been in a steady decline due to lost of habitat, pollution of our rivers and over fishing. For me the eel/tuna represents the rivers I love. This native creature represents the health of our environment and our waterways.
This particular sculpture ‘Waiawangawanga’ could represent the beauty of swirling waterways and the wairuau of our whenua(lands). Or this sculpture could possibly represent the line in the sand, the point of no return. A warning to us all that we are navigating troubled waters with dire consequences.
Sam Ludden New Zealand Ceramic Artist and Sculptor