Mahi Toi is a creative and engaging way to share our stories, celebrate our journey and reinvigorate the area.
We commissioned Hana Maihi of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei and Te Whetū Collective member Poi Ngawati to design and install two sides of a 12m high air vent on corner of Dockside Lane and Tangihua Street.
Students Nikita Sharma, Celia Lee and Jenny Zhong were chosen to design and paint the remaining panel after Study Auckland invited art students to join the project. The aim of the Study Auckland panel was to give international students the opportunity to work with respected local artists Ross Liew, Hana and Poi and explore what it means to make public art in Aotearoa.
The images depicted in this mural acknowledge Te Tōangaroa and Tāmaki Herenga Waka, the name of the place this mural now stands. Both names speak to the dragging and mooring of waka.
The waka taurapa (carved stern-post) evokes ‘Te Pou Whakairo ka tū ki te Waitematā’ gazing out over the Waitematā toward Tokapurewha and Takaparawhau where the haukainga of Te Taou, Te Uringutu and Ngaoho stand and have stood over many generations.
The taurapa acknowledges the rangatira steering us toward Te Ao Marama and each individual steering their own waka in life within the collective.
Ngā tohu o te rangi, the stars and signs above alongside ngā tohu o te taiao (signs of the environment) guide the kaiurungi (steerer) on the journey of the waka into the future.
The star constellation depicted is Te Matau a Maui, that can be seen in the location depicted with the rising of marama, prior to Hine Takurua and the rising of Matariki. This was visible in the location depicted in the mural at the time of painting.
With the long setting of the sun, Rākaunui (full moon) emerges from Tāne-te-waiora high in the sky. This acknowledges the phases of the moon, like the ebb and flow of the tides, that symbolise ‘ngā piki me ngā heke’ the good times and the challenges that our people move through towards te Ao Marama, enlightenment and well-being.
The purpose of this mural is to empower, ground and stand as a reminder of the unwavering whakapapa and wairua from the ancestors to the descendants of today. This is depicted through a side profile of the kawau pū standing tall.
Kawau birds are commonly found near coastal waters, rivers, streams. The kaokao raranga design as seen in the background symbolises the shelter and protection.
The colours in the kaokao reflect te korowai ora, the cloak of healing waters from Ranginui ki a Papatūānuku. These life-giving waters stretch from maunga to moana, thus connecting everything in between.
“I tā te kawau, ruku”, Dive determinedly like the cormorant and you will be rewarded. Dive into the depths of Te Ao Māori and Te Reo Māori. “Pū kawautia”, stand firm in your mana, in your whakapapa. Be unwavering in life and pursuit and protect your whatutoto that which you love.