Te Ahi Ka
- Enduring Fires
Public Art : Te Ahi Ká -
Sculptor : © Ngati Whatua
Description : A large engraved
boulder with a flame that erupts from its top as water flows down into a pool.
Date Unveiled : 2003
Location : The fiery sculpture
can be found outside Britomart, Queen Street, Auckland, New Zealand.
History of the TeAhi Ja sculpture : This was a
gift from Ngati Whatua to the people of
Te Ahi Ká - The Enduring Fires: Keeping the home fires burning is essential in maintaining mana
(authority) and the right to occupy a place. Ngati Whatua are the keepers of the fire for Tamaki
Makaurau - Auckland.
Who are the Ngati Whatua? Ngāti Whātua is a Māori
tribe which consist of 4 subtribes: Te Uri-o-Hau, Te Roroa, Te Taoū, and Ngāti Whātua-o-Ōrākei. The Ngāti Whātua
occupied the site of present day Auckland (including Waitakere City).
The Ngāti Whātua's main rival were the Ngapuhi tribe who occupied land further north. In the 19th
century, around 1807, the Ngapuhi pushed to gain more land closer to the main ports by attacking the Ngāti Whātua.
The battle, which became known as Moremonui (seagull's feast) was the first time both tribes used muskets (Western
weapons.) Interestingly the Ngapuhi were caught off guard when they paused to reload and were overrun by the Ngāti
Whātua, who were then armed with hand weapons. Moremonui, in all likelihood, was the first battle of the Musket
In 1825 the Ngapuhi had their revenge when they defeated Ngāti Whātua in the battle of Te Ika a
In 1840, Ngāti Whātua offered land at Tamaki Makaurau to Governor William Hobson in the hope of
attracting more European settlements and therefore more commercial and political opportunities for the tribe. In
response to the offer Hobson moved the capital of New Zealand to the area and named it Auckland in 1941 in honor of
Lord Auckland. Auckland would remain the capital until 1865 when it was
moved to Wellington.