Photo credit: GARDENS BY THE BAY

Gardens by the Bay unveils Tāne Te Waiora sculpture from New Zealand

The sculpture will be a new and permanent addition to the entrance of Cloud Forest.

Nurul Mardhiah

I like chewing ice.

Published: 20 April 2022, 3:18 PM

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern unveiled a donated kūwaha sculpture at Gardens by the Bay’s (GBTB) Cloud Forest on Apr 19. The sculpture, Tāne Te Waiora, is a permanent new addition to Cloud Forest. 

The Tāne Te Waiora is a custom-made Maori carving that is symbolic of cultures, beliefs, and identities as well as the special relationship between Singapore and New Zealand. 

Tāne Te Waiora means Tane, the giver of life. It is represented through the two figures carved on each whakawae (upright supports). One is depicting Haumietiketike, the spiritual guardian of uncultivated crops, while the other Rongomātāne, the spiritual guardian of agriculture and cultivated crops. 

The horizontal piece connecting the whakawae, the pare, features two taihu, the bow of a traditional Maori canoe known as the waka. The carving of a face at the centre of the pare is called a wheku. It portrays Hina, a personification of the moon that represents awakening and enlightenment and its importances in Maori culture. 

The pare represents the reciprocal relationship and history between Singapore and New Zealand.


In her visit to Singapore, New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern agreed for both countries to work closely on climate change and sustainable aviation. PHOTO CREDIT: GARDENS BY THE BAY


The sculpture is surrounded by plants native to New Zealand such as the Silver Fern, which symbolises the country, and the Pepper Tree, which has medicinal properties. 

Carved by master carver James Rickard and specialist carver Tommy Herbert, the sculpture is made of tōtara wood from a tree estimated to be 2,500 years old. The tree had fallen naturally due to a severe storm in the Pureora Forest in Central North Island. 

GBTB CEO Felix Loh said: “We are grateful for this precious gift to be placed permanently at the entrance of Cloud Forest as a lasting symbol of the close friendship between our two countries.” 

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