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Te Pou Tutake – the Fitzroy Pole

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Cnr Smart Rd & Devon Rd, New Plymouth

Te Pou Tutake – the Fitzroy Pole is one of the many pieces of public art to see in New Plymouth.

In 1847, when the pace of colonial settlement in Taranaki was being disputed by local Maori, Te Atiawa iwi had a pou (pole) carved from a seven metre shaft of puriri, and placed it at the end of the Fitzroy block. Te Pou Tutaki showed the European settlers how far Maori would let them settle to the north of New Plymouth – no settlement beyond the pole would be allowed.

The pou was burnt in a scrub fire in 1885, and later pulled down. In 1940, as part of the celebrations to mark the centenary of the founding of New Plymouth, a new pou was carved from a totara log by Hawera man Henare Toka and erected about 100m north of the original site.

In 2001 the replica was moved a couple of metres to allow room for an adjacent car park. The pole was cleaned and restored, increased in height, and placed amid landscaping at its current location. During commemorations to mark the Declaration of Independence 1835 or the Treaty of Waitangi 1840 and other similar days marked by tangata whenua, a flag representing either Te Atiawa iwi or Maori sovereignty can be seen flying from the pou.

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