MEANING OF THE PAINTED
And what about those little painted bushes? Why are they there? We asked Mr and Mrs Cotter and Mr Hamilton this. They told us that the plants did have a special meaning, but that there is no-one left now who knows exactly what this was. The plants represent words, in such a way that the poupou together spell out a message. Mr Hamilton told us that this message was one of welcome, in the following words: ‘Haere mai e aku tamariki e aku mokopuna tomongia te poho o to koutou tipuna te poho o Tama-te-Rangi”.
There are almost as many words in this message as there are little bushes. If these plants do represent a message, I wonder if it might be that each one represents a real kind of plant, not just an imaginary one? Perhaps then the first letter of the name of each plant might represent the first letter of each word in the message of welcome. If this were so, and if you knew the secret, each painting would give you one word in this message. But this is only a guess. Nobody really knows now.