In 1989 the Catholic Māori of the Archdiocese of Wellington gifted a kohatu whakairo to the Archdiocese.
The kohatu whakairo or “thinking stone” is 2 metres high and made of Oamaru stone. It normally sits in the foyer of Sacred Heart Cathedral which is currently closed for earthquake strengthening. It is one of the Cathedral’s taonga.
The kohatu whakairo was carved by Lou Kereopa, master carver from Porirua.
The kohato whakairo consists of layers and panels, each with its own uniqueness. The solid base represents the Catholic faith. In the first layer above the base the essentials of that faith are represented in the panels on three of the four sides of the stone – the seven sacraments, the Ten Commandments, the crucified Saviour within the Holy Trinity.
The fourth panel represents the cathedral itself with the initials J and M for Jesus and Mary, and two hearts to represent the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
On the next layer the panels have four figures representing the growth in faith from none to the full believing Christian, whose face has a full moko. Together these four figures support the suffering world over which stands the church bearing Christ’s light to the nations.
This light is represented by a globe which is the world encircled by a crown of thorns representing human suffering and disobedience, and the sacrifice of Jesus who gave his life that human beings may live and have eternal life.
The structure is crowned by a church portraying the shelter and joyful hope that the gospel offers. The cross surmounting the kohatu whakairo symbolises all who follow the way of Jesus.