RROOTTOORRUUAA PPUUBBLLIICC AARRTTSS TTRRAAIILL
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.