“The Grandmothers” is a work by artist Warren Thompson of Waitaha descent. It was funded by grants from Creative New Zealand and the Hurunui District Council and was unveiled on 10 May 2003 by Prime Minister Helen Clark.
The plaque on the sculptures reads:
A celebration of the ancient Waitaha people.
The Rt. Hon. Helen Clark, Prime Minister
on 10 May 2003
In ancient times this land was inhabited by a people known as Waitaha
Their presence is recorded in the drawings, which adorn the many rock
overhangs along their old trails through the Hurunui District. These three
figures are a contemporary manifestation of the principal of the
constellation, which the Waitaha people used to explain their creation as a people.
Sculptor Warren Thompson of Waitaha descent has used stone from the region
and was inspired by the local cave drawings in the creation of this work of art.
The project was funded through a partnership between
Creative NZ and The Hurunui District Council.”
As well as the cave drawings, Warren was inspired by the ancient Waitaha legends passed down through many generations of his people. They speak of history, culture and a way of life which was both practical and deeply spiritual. The keen observer might still find echoes of Waitaha culture embedded in Hurunui’s contemporary rural life.