Fun in the Sun mural

Our beautiful mural by Charles & Janine Williams

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FUN IN THE SUN Our beautiful mural on the Farm Street side of the centre that was completed by artists Charles & Janine Williams in 2020.

The mural tells a story that relates to our local flora and fauna representing the people of Tauranga Moana. Did you know our area was well known for having the best quality harakeke (flax)?

Peri Kohu one of the kaumatua of Tauranga Moana spoke to us about the origin of the name of Putiki in Whanganui and how the flax from here, pictured in our mural, lead to its name.

'Te Putiki-wharanui-a-Tamatea-pokaiwhenua - The origin of the name goes back to the renowned explorer Tamatea, when accompanied by his son, Kahungunu. He visited the Whanganui district in the 14th century. Upon landing at a point where the present Putiki Pa now stands, Kahungunu, desirous of dressing his hair, sent his servant, Taukai, to gather flax with which to bind his hair.

The servant obtained the flax from the banks of the Awarua stream, and after dressing it, proceeded to tie up the hair of his master in the usual manner into a ‘putiki’ or top-knot. The flax provided was unsatisfactory and broke on being tied. However, the work was finally accomplished with some difficulty, after which Kahungunu commented that the flax was not like the ‘wharanui’, a species of flax only obtainable from Tauranga at Maungamana.

Tamatea, on hearing his son's comment said, “Putiki-wharanui-a-Tamatea-pokai-whenua shall this place be called”. The name was later contracted to Putiki-wharanui and later still to Putiki.

This story is an indication of the quality of the harakeke (flax) plant grown in Maungamana which sits in the hills behind Bayfair Shopping Centre. This flax was known as the best in Aotearoa and was used and traded all over the land.'