10-metre waka descend on Rototuna as public art comes to life


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5 September 2008

The new public art installation based in Rototuna is about to take on an exciting new form, with the raising of seven waka scheduled to take place next Tuesday [9 September]. Until now the only visible structures of the installation, situated at the intersection of Borman Road and Resolution Drive, have been the concrete foundations.

Placed in the formation of the Kingitanga symbol of the Matatiki star constellation, the 8-10 metres tall waka promise to be an extraordinary presence on the Rototuna landscape. They will tell the stories of the rich heritage and history of the area, with symbols embedded into the top of each waka telling stories to represent Tangata, the human history of the land, and symbols at the bottom representing Whenua, the natural history of the land.

The waka will take two days to install, with completion due on 11 September. The process will require the use of a special crane to help lift the waka into place before they can be bolted securely into the concrete foundations. Although the road will not be closed during this time, the traffic will be restricted to one lane around the roundabout.

Over the past 10 months artist Dion Hitchens has been busy planning, designing and constructing the elements for the new artwork, which is due to be complete in October this year. So far the installation has taken 7500 blocks of Cedar held together with 15000 nails, and when complete will have used 8500kg of steel.

The past few months have also seen a great deal of planning behind the scenes, including extensive consultation with local hapu representative Wiremu Puke of Nga Mana Toopu and Ngati Wairere and James Ormsby, the local artist who designed the symbols. The project has also required collaboration with teams from Hamilton City Council looking after the road design, construction and landscaping.

The next key milestone will be the installation of the tuna (eel). Made from aluminium, the eels form a cluster suspended by wire and up-lit by lights. The cluster represents a mass of tuna migrating, as they do in the wild to Tonga each year.

The name of the installation will be announced at the special opening ceremony and blessing scheduled for October.

Name: Kate Vusoniwailala
Designation: Director, Waikato Museum
Tel (Direct): 07 838 6709
Mobile: 021 620 098
Fax (Direct): 07 838 6571
Name: Kylee Bruce
Designation: Communication Advisor
Tel (Direct): 07 838 6726
Mobile: 021 816 917
Fax (Direct): 07 838 6761
Page reviewed: 05 Sep 2008 12:00am