May 9, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Tairawhiti Navigations project – artists needed

3 min read

Artists only have one week left to register their interest in creating a significant piece of public art. The art piece will be installed on the Turanganui Riverbank walkway near Customhouse Street and the Waikanae Stream. The artist or group of artists would need to be able to design, build and install the piece to reflect the cultural significance of the area.

Installing a piece of art work in this location has been discussed since the Heinz-Wattie building was demolished over ten years ago. An agreement between Gisborne District Council and hapu Te Whanau A Iwi of Te Aitanga A Mahaki established protocols recognising and protecting wahi tapu throughout the demolition process and other outstanding issues.

These protocols were completed in 2000 and Ngati Oneone, Ngai Tawhiri and Te Runanga O Turanganui A Kiwa were asked to be involved in the process. The art work will permanently recognise the hapu and iwi from this area.

Since the demolition took place Council have been working on the purchase of the riverbank land, the development of the walkway, the Tair?whiti Navigations Project and an Arts and Culture Strategy. These all influence the site and are at a stage where the art work can proceed with confidence. A budget of $70,000 plus GST and installation costs has been put aside for this project.

The art piece should balance the Cook statue which sits on the opposite bank of the Waikanae Stream and fit in with the aims of the Tair?whiti Navigations Project. This project celebrates Tair?whiti’s rich heritage focusing on the meeting of two cultures – M?ori and Non-M?ori – along with voyaging, arrival and settlement. These are all themes pertinent to the Turanganui Riverbank.

Arrival is a theme relevant to the site with its associated welcome and challenge. Powhiri – the M?ori welcome involving the Taki or Wero (an aggressive challenge of the visitor), speeches, singing, dancing and finally the hongi (pressing noses) has also been mooted as a starting point.

The proposals will be considered by an evaluation panel with representatives from Council, Te Whanau A Iwi of Te Aitanga A Mahaki, Ngati Oneone, Ngai Tawhiri, Te Runanga O Turanganui A Kiwa and the Tair?whiti Museum. A short list of artists will be decided and asked to present to the panel.

Effectively engaging with tangata whenua will be an important part of successfully completing this project. The evaluation panel will be looking to choose artists who have worked well with iwi and hapu groups previously and who understand what visitors are looking for. Most importantly the piece must be authentic, made from quality materials and convey the historical significance of the site.

Registrations close at 4pm next Friday 25 February 2011. The artwork is expected to be completed by mid July with an official opening held at the end of July 2011.


Registration of Interest documents
Project documents

The study proposes an initial navigational traditions development of coordinated light infrastructure and story development at key sites within the Tair?whiti region to acknowledge our heritage, generate business opportunities and affirm the appeal of the region as a great place to live and visit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.