PAHI O’CARROLL’S MĀORI CARVING UNVEILED

Following a ceremony on Sept. 27, Dwayne Pahi O’Carroll’s carved door lintel, Te Hononga, was unveiled and placed on the wall outside of the Champlain Room. The unveiling ceremony was the culmination of Pahi’s month-long artist residency at Champlain College, where he carved the Pare whakairo – a traditional Māori carving. 

The Pare was carved from the trunk of a black walnut tree that was damaged by a storm in Charlotte, Vermont. Pahi started preparing the outlines of the carving at The Generator Makerspace, and then worked on hand carving the elaborately designed details under a tent in the Rozendaal Courtyard at Champlain College.

Although it varies throughout tribes in Aotearoa, a Pare whakairo is usually hung above the entrance way of a sacred meeting space (wharenui) and represents ancestral lineage and tribal stories. Te Hononga, which in Māori means “The Convergence,” symbolizes the relationship between Champlain College and Auckland University of Technology (AUT) as study abroad partner institutions, as well as the shared values and traditions among indigenous peoples.

Approximately 180 people attended the ceremony, with remarks by Paula Willoquet-Maricondi, Dean of the CCM Division; George C. Burrill, the Honorary Consul of New Zealand to Vermont and Champlain College Trustee; and Pare Keiha, the Dean of Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Development at AUT.

The ceremony also featured performances of traditional Maori songs (Waiata) and incantations (Karakia) joined by audience members. At the end of the ceremony, the Pare was placed, blessed, and officially given its name –Te Hononga.

Pahi says that Te Hononga represents the convergence between the sacred waters of Horotiu in New Zealand and the ancestral waters of Lake Champlain in Vermont. The central figure of the carving (Koruru) is a representation of the Māori God Tangaroa, God of the sea and waterways. The design also represents the bonds and interconnectivity between the Māori tribes and local Abenaki tribes. Lastly, Pahi says Te Hononga represents the convergence between life, humanity, and wisdom. More information can be found on the plaque next to the Pare whakairo.  Here are photos of the ceremony.

Erika Skorstad ’21—Contributor