The Gardens by the Bay features a Māori carving symbolizing the New Zealand-Singapore friendship

Economy Politics Society

At the entrance to the Bay Cloud Forest Gardens, among the lush greenery of plants native to New Zealand, visitors are greeted by a symbolic doorway.

The new Maori kuwaha carving, named Tane Te Wayora, represents the strong friendship between Singapore and New Zealand, and was unveiled by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister in Prime Minister’s Office Indrani Raj on Tuesday (April 19).

The three-piece sculpture of totara wood from the Pureora forest in the central North Island is made from a tree estimated to be 2,500 years old that fell naturally in the forest during a heavy storm.

The carvings depict Tane, the personification of the sun, and Hina, the personification of the moon, highlighting the importance of light in Maori culture.

“This is a metaphor for our reunion with Singapore, demonstrating our intention to strengthen the ‘doorway’ between New Zealand and Singapore and the rest of the world,” Ms Ardern said of the carving.

“The presence of Hina, represented by the moon, and Tana, represented by crops, on the kuwaha is also important as they symbolize the relationship of trust and reciprocity that defines New Zealand’s relationship with Singapore.”

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