The Mine Bay Māori Rock Carving of Ngatoroirangi by Matahi Whakataka-Brightwell, Lake Taupo, North Island, New Zealand
© Evgueni Zverev/Alam
A tribute to the ancestors
To celebrate International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, we're on New Zealand's North Island, looking at the Ngatoroirangi rock carving in Mine Bay, by Māori artist Matahi Whakataka-Brightwell. This artwork is part of a larger collection of carvings on the edge of Lake Taupo and has become a big tourist attraction, despite being accessible only by boat. Four years in the making, the work is a tribute to Māori ancestors and guardians, and the integral roles they play in the indigenous Māori culture.
The Māori are the Indigenous Polynesian people of mainland New Zealand, having arrived in the islands from Polynesia in the 14th century. Over centuries of isolation, they developed their own distinctive culture, language and mythology. As of the 2018 census, the Māori comprised about 16% of New Zealand's total population.
International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples was created by the United Nations and this year, the UN will use it to raise awareness of the unwritten rules, or 'social contracts,' that help communities function equitably but from which indigenous peoples have historically been excluded.