Whai Rawa is committed to elevating the hapū identity, integrating cultural artwork and design throughout our projects to recognise and further establish the tangata whenua status of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei.
This artwork is a visual representation and celebration of the ahi kaa that has been upheld by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei for centuries.
Most recently, our focus has been within Te Tōangaroa with art installations and activations sharing the vibrant history of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei.
As the gateway to the eastern waterfront, our vision for Te Tōangaroa is to reflect the Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei identity and for people (manuhiri, residents, tenants and of course our whānau) to connect with the precinct, know where it is and what it offers.
We’re very committed to this vision and are taking steps to achieve it, ensuring whānau artists are celebrated and integral to the journey. We continue to seek opportunities to partner with building owners to incorporate more mahi toi and therefore opportunities for whānau artists.
In 2021, we commissioned Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei uri Hana Maihi and Te Whetū Collective member Poi Ngawati to design and install two sides of a 12m high air vent on the corner of Dockside Lane and Tangihua Street. The murals, respectively named Te Tōangaroa and Pū Kawautia, speak to the uniqueness of Te Tōangaroa and its connection to Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei.
In mid-2022, Hana and Poi unveiled another mural in the precinct, Ngā wai o te ata hāpara, and more recently, their third mural, Te Herenga waka, was completed. At the same time, we collaborated with Spark Arena to commission artist Numa Mackenzie on a three-panel mural project nearby.
Each of these murals tell the stories of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, bringing vibrancy and a point of difference to the precinct.
Last year, we opened a pop-up gallery and store, Mahi Toi ki Te Tōangaroa, during Matariki that celebrated whānau artists and their mahi toi. We are continuing to look at additional ways we can utilise this space for similar activations.
This celebration of mahi toi also extends to AECOM house, in the heart of Te Tōangaroa. Dave Harriman from Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei curated a collection of mahi toi, many of which are from our weavers based at whare ako, Te Puawai. Read more about this here
These pieces are in addition to the tukutuku panel proudly displayed in the AECOM foyer, designed collaboratively by our expert weavers Beronia Scott, Ruth Cullen Scott, Shelley Faiers, Kororia Witika, Rebecca Reid, Te Whaea Witika.
Hana and Poi’s most recent mahi toi installation in Te Tōangaroa, Tara Iti ki Tai, can also be found at AECOM House, on the ground floor in Māhuhu Café. The tara iti is a significant manu to Ngāti Whātua, often found in the Kaipara and in central Tāmaki. Te Tara Iti ki Tai is an acknowledgement of our hononga to the Kaipara and a contemporary take on whakairo, created using a CNC router and features Te Whetu Collective's signature green to represent the Waitematā.
More mural and Toi Māori projects are in the pipeline, giving our Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei whānau creatives the opportunity to share our stories with the people of Tāmaki and manuhiri. One of these is a wall piece by Graham Tipene that is soon to be installed. This piece is centred on Te Tōangaroa, showing the original shoreline of the Waitemata and the current shoreline. If any whānau artists would like to be involved, please get in touch.
This all forms part of a bigger piece of work around the reinvigoration of Te Tōangaroa. We have been working with design consultancy, Extended Whanau, to develop a brand identity for the precinct which we will unveil shortly. In addition to the visual identity, we are developing a website that is designed to inform people of the area, its history as well as events and activations we have planned.
All of this will help to re-establish Te Tōangaroa as a destination and in time, ensure people come to know the precinct by its name, as well as its unique history.
We’ll share more on this soon – watch this space!