Rotorua Visitor Guide - - News -

The story of Ro­torua is cap­tured through a series of pub­lic works of art you’ll find dot­ted around the cen­tral city area. In the area around the city’s pub­lic li­brary, which is lo­cated be­hind the iSite on Fen­ton Street, you’ll find an ode to fa­mous NewZealand avi­a­trix Jean Bat­ten, who was born in Ro­torua. Through­out the beau­ti­ful Gov­ern­ment Gar­dens – amon­u­ment in them­selves – you’ll find a num­ber of other art­works rep­re­sent­ing Ro­torua’s founders and works which hark to Ro­torua’s deepseat­edMaori his­tory and cul­ture. The Prince’s GateArches, the wooden arch­es­mark­ing the en­trance to the gar­dens were erected in 1901 to hon­our a royal visit and de­signed to rep­re­sent the royal crown. The carv­ings lo­cated by the arches have been there since 1907, pre­sented to the city by the peo­ple of Ngati Whakaue to com­mem­o­rate the orig­i­nal gift of land. The gar­dens area was the scene of a sig­nif­i­cant bat­tle be­tween two Maori tribes, Ngati Whakaue and Ngati Tuwhare­toa who in­vaded from Taupo. The Te Ru­nanga Tea House in the gar­dens – the build­ing with the ve­ran­dah near the arches – fea­tures tekoteko (carved fig­ures) which are a memo­rial to the lo­cal war­riors who lost their lives. Else­where in the gar­dens you’ll find other carv­ings rep­re­sent­ing Maori an­ces­tors and mon­u­ments com­mem­o­rat­ing lo­cals who fought in wars, as well as a bust of French-born en­gi­neer Camille Mal­froy who was in charge of works in Ro­torua fol­low­ing the 1886 erup­tion of Tarawera. These days his bust of­ten boasts items of cloth­ing, the tongue-in-cheek ef­forts of a ded­i­cated lo­cal. Out­side the mu­seum – the ma­jes­tic Tu­dor-style for­mer bath house – is a land­mark sculp­ture which rep­re­sents the present, cre­ated by lo­cal artist Ly­onel Grant, com­mis­sioned to cel­e­brate the millennium and in­spired by the meld­ing of Maori and Euro­pean cul­tures. An ad­di­tion to the pub­lic works of art in the Gov­ern­ment Gar­dens area is the fab­u­lously colour­ful yarn-bombed tree out­side the city’s arts vil­lage, lo­cated on the cor­ner of Hinemoa and Hine­maru streets. The elab­o­rately“bombed” tree has be­come a tourist at­trac­tion in its own right and is well worth check­ing out – if that doesn’tmake you smile, noth­ing will. While you’re there, youmight as well take a peek in­side the Arts Vil­lage and check out what else Ro­torua’s artists have to of­fer. This fa­cil­ity, in the for­mer res­i­dence of the city’s first doc­tor, fea­tures amo­saic floor de­signed by lo­cal artistMarc Spi­jker­bosch – whose mu­rals fea­ture all over town. The floor com­prises about 350,000 glass tiles which were lov­ingly laid out by about 900 com­mu­nity vol­un­teers. Check out www.cre­ativero­torua.org. nz to find out more about Ro­torua’s artis­tic of­fer­ings.

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