Significant new public art piece bound for Rototuna


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19 December 2007

Artistic will meet arterial as a new piece of public art is set to grace the intersection of Borman Road and Resolution Drive in Hamilton's Growth Node of Rototuna.

Council consulted the Public Art Committee to commission this significant new piece of public art for Rototuna in recognition of its status as one of Hamilton's primary growth areas. In line with its CityScope and Creativity and Identity strategies, Council considers the inclusion of aesthetic design into transport infrastructure will play a pivotal role in future-proofing Hamilton and the Rototuna public art work offers a tangible example of this principle in action.

Auckland-based artist Dion Hitchens was selected through the Public Art Committee process and he has partnered with local Hamilton artist James Ormsby and local hapu Ngati Wairere, including its sub-tribes Ngati Hanui, Ngati Waikai and Ngati Parekirangi, to ensure the art piece captures local relevance.

To aid the process of selecting a proposal for the Rototuna public art project, a brief was prepared which asked that proposals offered a concept for a sculptural piece of public art that would become a distinct feature for those travelling along the arterial routes of Resolution Drive and Borman Road. The brief also required that the sculpture would align with the landscape design intent for Borman Road, with emphasis on the history of Rototuna (lake of eels).

Mr Hitchens and Mr Ormsby are collaborating with local hapu representative, Wiremu Puke of Nga Mana Toopu and Ngati Wairere, to enrich the content of the public art work. The concept consists of seven waka, each ranging between 6.5 and 9.5 metres high, placed in a formation to represent the Kingitanga symbol of the Matariki star constellation (Maori new year). Each waka has several symbols embedded into it to represent different proverbs and aspects of history from the Rototuna area. Between the waka, a cluster of tuna (eels) will be suspended in the shape of a hinaki (eel net). Each of the waka will be up-lit and LED lights will illuminate the symbols and the eels.

The sculpture will be named at a later date by the artists in collaboration with local hapu.

Hamilton mayor Bob Simcock says the Rototuna public art piece will add to the collection of significant and prominent pieces of public art in the city.

"The sculptural piece at the Rototuna/Borman Road roundabout will be a major, prominent piece of public art that aligns closely with the principals of Council's CityScope and Creativity and Identity strategies.

"Rototuna is one of Hamilton's fastest developing areas and the location of the art piece places it at the heart of this growth node where two arterial routes intersect. The art piece signifies an increasing recognition that aesthetics need to be part of the design process for Hamilton's transport infrastructure and it will be a vital integration into the urban fabric of Rototuna. The proposed Rototuna town centre is to be built on the northeast side of the roundabout, with business offices and communal areas likely to overlook the roundabout. The sculpture captures the unique history of the Rototuna area and provides a distinct sense of place for this growth node as it continues to develop and diversify."

The foundations for the public art work will be laid early next year with the sculpture planned for completion in June/July next year to coincide with Matariki celebrations.

NAME: Kate Vusoniwailala
DESIGNATION: Director, Waikato Museum
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NAME: Naomi Reynolds
DESIGNATION: Communication Executive
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Page reviewed: 19 Dec 2007 12:00am