Sculpture for Matariki tells story
Wintec is partnering with mana whenua, Hamilton City Council, industry and other community stakeholders to create an interactive waka sculpture to commemorate Matariki.
The sculpture will consist of a 6m tall steel pou maumahara (memorial pillar) with interactive elements and will stand in Hamilton’s Ferrybank park.
Project lead and Wintec tutor Joe Citizen said he had wanted to acknowledge the Waikato river and followed Tainui kauma¯ tua, Tame Pokaia’s suggestion to visit Te Winika — the 200-year-old carved waka taua (Ma¯ ori war canoe), at the Waikato Museum.
Citizen said the information around how Te Winika refers to an orchid from Kawhia impressed his thoughts and how knowledge unfolds, buds and flowers.
“I started to think about not just form but the way in which the thinking around partnership could flower.”
He has engaged Wintec staff and students across multiple disciplines and has worked closely with the institution’s Ma¯ ori Achievement Unit.
“This is really a partnership with Ma¯ ori Achievement. In many ways I think it comes back to Te Tiriti. This is about Te Ao Ma¯ ori and Te Ao Pa¯ ke¯ ha working together . . . I am working with ancient knowledge that I don’t know about and so my role is to act in a way that is appropriate. Everything goes through Tame.”
Citizen said that his understanding of Matariki is developing but the choice to incorporate seven stars was clear.
“Some people think there are nine stars some people think there are seven, Waikato-Tainui say there are seven so that’s the way we’re doing it here.”
Ngaati Wairere historian Wiremu Puke suggested that Citizen incorporate niho taniwha
(teeth of the taniwha) and Citizen is using the emblem to acknowledge the well-known Waikato proverb ‘he piko, he taniwha’.
The proverb refers to the many chiefs who dwelt at every bend of the Waikato river and acknowledges mana whenua of the region.
The niho taniwha has been notched into steel panels and Citizen is currently working on lighting animation which will shine through to reflect rain patterns or fresh water which the Matariki star Waitii oversees.
Three stars will be represented down one side of the structure with another three on the other side and Matariki at the top.
Many interactive elements will be incorporated from contemporary taonga pu¯ oro (traditional musical instrument) compositions, history and storytelling elements, lights and internet applications.
The installation is scheduled to be completed before the end of the year.
One question Citizen is often asked is who’s paying for the interactive sculpture?
“I’ve raised through grants $140,000 from the beginning of last year.
“People always go ‘oh my rates’. Well, people’s rates haven’t paid for this.”
Mana whenua have been approached to form the final name for the waka sculpture.
■ For more information there is a Matariki Interactive Waka Project Facebook page.
Wintec tutor Joe Citizen is currently working on lighting animation which will shine through steel plates.
A concept drawing of the 6m tall steel pou maumahara (memorial pillar) with interactive elements that will stand in Hamilton’s Ferrybank park.
Wintec tutor Joe Citizen wanted to create a piece which acknowledged the Waikato river and the Matariki waka.