Costly tani­wha to pro­tect My­ers Park

Auckland City Harbour News - - FRONT PAGE - JAMES PASLEY

A tani­wha will soon be lurk­ing at the bot­tom of a cen­tral Auck­land park, for $110,000 more than ini­tially bud­geted.

In April Auck­land Coun­cil put aside the ad­di­tional money to en­sure the ki­netic art project, now worth $460,000, is com­pleted at the bot­tom of My­ers Park in the CBD.

To pay for the project coun­cil can­celled a $70,000 project in Mt Al­bert and a $50,000 project in Pukekohe.

The art­work, fully funded by coun­cil, will cre­ate a gate­way be­neath the Mayor Drive un­der­pass link­ing the park to the city.

Ngati Whatua Orakei’s Gra­ham Tipene, who de­signed the piece, said My­ers Park used to be a creek, and still had wa­ter flow­ing be­neath the ground. Tipene said be­cause of this a tani­wha sculp­ture was an ob­vi­ous choice.

In Maori mythol­ogy, tani­wha are su­per­nat­u­ral crea­tures that live in rivers, dark caves, or in the sea.

Tipene said the sculp­ture would be rep­re­sented by scales on the roof of the over­pass that would flut­ter in the wind and a pedes­trian board­walk with wa­ter flow­ing be­neath.

‘‘It’s not just an art piece you look at but one you can ex­pe­ri­ence, stand­ing inside and out­side,’’ Tipene said.

The art­work was part of coun­cil’s aim to im­prove the per­cep­tion of My­ers Park as a pub­lic space.

The park’s re­cent his­tory is some­what dark due to a se­ries of in­ci­dents, in­clud­ing a home­less man be­ing fa­tally stabbed in 2013 and an un­armed man be­ing shot dead by po­lice in 2015.

Base­ment The­atre is lo­cated be­side the un­der­pass. Man­ager Elise Ster­back said the the­atre had con­ducted a coun­cil-funded work­shop to brain­storm how to try and heal for­got­ten spaces in the city. She ap­proved of the re­de­vel­op­ment plans.

‘‘It needs to act like a por­tal into the park and the cen­tral city,’’ Ster­back said.

She said the un­der­pass was used by lots of com­muters walk­ing from Karanga­hape Rd into town.

Tipene was hope­ful work would be­gin in the next few months.

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