The external space between the two buildings at Pita Te Hori is named to commemorate Te Wera, a Ngāi Tahu warrior chief.
On his father’s side, he was descended from Turakautahi the founder of Kaiapoi Pa. On his mother’s side, he was descended from Te Ruahikihiki a warrior chief from Kaikōura.
One of the many famous proverbs attributed to Te Wera captures the essence of this fighting chief:
Taku whakaaro i mate rangatira i te tāpapa whawhai.
My thought is that it is an honourable death to die fighting.
Many years after the Ngāi Tahu occupation of the area, other warriors came to the site following the land being set aside by the Canterbury Provincial Council in 1864 as a parade ground for the volunteer army of the time.
The site has long had an association with the military as a military barracks, from which many New Zealanders have left for war from the facilities erected on these grounds. It is therefore fitting to commemorate Te Wera, as a warrior chief, and also those other warriors since his time that have left for other shores.
Within Ngā Māra a Te Wera - the Garden of Te Wera - storyboards outline the life of Te Wera, together with a soldiers’ or veterans’ corner in which you might sit and contemplate the past as well as the future.