New art­works for down­town Auck­land


Five bronze waka and a lightre­flect­ing sculp­ture will be in­stalled in Auck­land’s cen­tral busi­ness dis­trict for $300,000.

Artist Chris Bai­ley’s Tau­ranga Waka, worth $100,000, will be in­stalled on Beach Rd and artist Cather­ine Grif­fiths’ Light Weight ‘O’, worth $190,000, will be in­stalled on O’Con­nell St.

Auck­land Coun­cil is fund­ing the two pieces to ac­knowl­edge the sig­nif­i­cance of mana whenua and to draw foot traf­fic to the city. Mana whenua refers to iwi which have au­thor­ity over a par­tic­u­lar area or piece of land.

Bai­ley said the waka sculp­tures were be­ing in­stalled on Beach Rd be­cause it was the orig­i­nal fore­shore be­fore land was re­claimed in the 1800s.

He said the sculp­tures de­picted work­ing waka used for fish­ing and mov­ing pro­duce, rather than war ca­noes.

’’Th­ese are the waka that sup­ported fam­ily life and kept the peo­ple fed,’’ Bai­ley said.

‘‘The po­si­tion­ing of th­ese waka push­ing up through the pave­ment re­minds us both of the orig­i­nal fore­shore ly­ing un­der the pave­ment, but also of the rich Maori mar­itime his­tory of the area.’’

Pedes­tri­ans were in­vited to brush their hands over the prows as they walked past. He said the phys­i­cal con­nec­tion would high­light the carved nar­ra­tives on each piece.

Auck­land Coun­cil arts and cul­ture man­ager Richard McWha said the in­stal­la­tion of Light Weight ‘O’ would draw pedes­tri­ans to O’Con­nell St and liven up the area.

The sus­pended art­work made of glass and brass would re­flect the lane’s ex­tra­or­di­nary her­itage streetscape, McWha said.

Artist Cather­ine Grif­fiths said her piece was part of a se­ries of ‘‘vowel’’ works in pub­lic and pri­vate spa­ces.

’’I look for­ward to the act of polishing which will of­fer an­other shift, or glim­mer, of sur­prise over time,’’ Grif­fiths said.

Auck­land Art Gallery di­rec­tor Rhana Devon­port said strong poetic pub­lic art was an in­te­gral part of the great cities of the world.

She said many vis­i­tors to the Auck­land Art Gallery vis­ited pub- lic art works in the city and they were a gift to the city.

‘‘They cre­ate a sense of pos­si­bil­ity, cre­ativ­ity and imag­i­na­tion,’’ Deven­port said.

The sculp­tures would be com­pleted early next year.


Chris Bai­ley says the waka re­flects the rich Maori mar­itime his­tory of the area.

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