Gardens by the Bay unveils New Zealand’s Tāne Te Waiora sculpture

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern unveiled donation kūwaha sculpture at Gardens by the Bay’s (GBTB) Cloud Forest on April 19. The sculpture, Tane Te Waiorais a new permanent addition to Cloud Forest.

The Tane Te Waiora is a bespoke Maori sculpture that symbolizes cultures, beliefs and identities as well as the special relationship between Singapore and New Zealand.

Tane Te Waiora means Tane, the giver of life. It is represented through the two figures engraved on each what’s up (vertical supports). One depicts Haumietiketike, the spiritual guardian of uncultivated crops, while the other Rongomātāne, the spiritual guardian of agriculture and cultivated crops.

The horizontal piece connecting the what’s upthe crophas two taihu, the bow of a traditional Maori canoe known as a waka. The sculpture of a face in the center of the crop is called a wheku. It depicts Hina, a personification of the moon who represents awakening and enlightenment and her importances in Maori culture.

The crop represents the reciprocal relationship and history between Singapore and New Zealand.

During her visit to Singapore, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern agreed that the two countries would work closely together on climate change and sustainable aviation. PHOTO CREDIT: GARDENS BY THE BAY

The sculpture is surrounded by plants native to New Zealand such as the silver fern, which symbolizes the country, and the pepper plant, which has medicinal properties.

Sculpted by master carver James Rickard and specialist carver Tommy Herbert, the sculpture is made of tōtara wood from a tree believed to be 2,500 years old. The tree had fallen naturally due to a severe storm in Pureora Forest in the central North Island.

GBTB CEO Felix Loh said, “We are grateful that this precious gift is permanently placed at the entrance to Cloud Forest as an enduring symbol of the close friendship between our two countries.”

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