Sculpture celebrates legend


A wood carving depicting a local Maori legend has been unveiled at the Rakaia Gorge.

The finely detailed sculpture carved from totara wood is at the car park overlooking the gorge. It was unveiled last Saturday.

The land is part of the Taniwha Farm owned by Donna Field and husband Ben Todhunter who commissioned the work as part of an ongoing beatification project of the area.

The couple who run Cleardale Station in the Rakaia Gorge bought the Taniwha Farm five years ago and have since put in a walking track, car park and also maintain the lookout.

Donna said they wanted to put up the sculpture to highlight the story about the local Taniwha.

“It’s such a cool story about the wind and the Taniwha.

“It is the the battle between the Nor’west wind and the Taniwha who made the gorge to stop the wind ruining his property,” she said.

Timaru-based master carver John Reihana created the work and would like to do more in the region.

“He would like to do works like this all around Canterbury depicting Maori legends,” Donna said.

Ben said he felt lucky and privileged to have the sculpture there, and explained the materials used mirrored the legend.

“The totara is from the West Coast where the Nor’west wind comes from and the sculpture is anchored in place using a bridge beam that came from the Rakaia Gorge bridge.”

-By Daniel Tobin