Albert Park and Lorne Street

Today the peaceful gardens of Albert Park sit only a minute’s walk from busy city life, whilst nearby Lorne Street offers the hungry traveller a large selection of eateries.

Historically, Rangipuke was a papakāinga (settlement) which included Te Wai Horotiu, a defensive pā (fortified village) to the north-east.

The ridge area was formed from previous volcanic activity and the iwi (tribes) living here enjoyed excellent growing conditions with the fertile volcanic soil and nearby Te Waihorotiu.

Robert Sullivan (Ngāpuhi (Ngāti Manu/Ngāti Hau) Kāi Tahu) with Architectus, Architects
Kawe Reo / Voices Carry, 2011
Photo by Marlaina Key
Central City Library Tāmaki Pātaka Kōrero, 44-46 Lorne Street | Open 7 days

This poem was written by former Central City Librarian Robert Sullivan. The work reflects the area’s vibrancy both past and present, and celebrates the relationship between Auckland Libraries, the city, and its people.

The poem is about the library’s location near Te wai Horotiu stream and Lorne Street, and is engraved into the basalt walls of the steps and the REO seating. A Māori translation of the poem is engraved around the the seats.

The three impressive letters of REO are created from bronze to follow the style of the handrails and bronze sculptural features of the library building. The theme of a word being made into seating was drawn from the library with its many books and words within.

Allan Nopera (Ngāti Whātua, Te Uri o Hau, Ngāti Kahu) Manos Nathan Te Roroa (Ngāti Whātua, Ngāpuhi)
Whare Wānanga and Taonga, 1997
Photo by Marlaina Key
Central City Library Tāmaki Pātaka Kōrero, 44-46 Lorne Street | Open 7 days

This whare wānanga (place of learning) was created as a cultural learning space for whānau (family groups), tāuira (students) and kaimahi (library staff).

The carved panels completed in 1984 by master carver, Nopera, are like those in traditional whare wānanga and reinforce the special nature of the space. The patterns on the glass by Nathan reflect the Ngāti Whātua tribal style of carving and are unaunahi (fish scale), pākura (hen feet), kiri kiore (rat skin) and pakāti (dog’s tooth).

The design’s central motif is the pūpūtarakihi (paper nautilus shell) referencing Ngāti Whātua’s ‘He aha te hau – Winds of Change’ prophecy by Titahi.

Brett Graham Ngāti Korokī, Tainui
Manu Tāwhiowhio / Bird Satellite, 1996
Photo by Marlaina Key
Auckland University of Technology (AUT), Corner of Wellesley Street East and Mayoral Drive

The sculpture Manu Tāwhiowhio depicts an abstract bird. The work acknowledges the important historical role of migratory birds as guides for early seafarers seeking new lands. The satellite reference links past and present and is a symbol of our modern methods of communication.

Manu (birds) had huge traditional importance to early Māori. They were a source of food and were thought to be spiritual messengers. The behaviour of some birds was believed to foretell the future, and some would bring good or bad luck. Many birds were felt to be chiefly; their feathers were used as adornment by high-born people. Graham often uses images and patterns found in nature in his work, reflecting his concern for our environment and the important role it played in the culture of indigenous people.

Allan Nopera (Ngāti Whātua, Te Uri o Hau, Ngāti Kahu) and Wanairangi Nopera (Ngāti Whātua, Te Uri o Hau, Ngāti Kuri)
Kahungunu Carving with Tukutuku Panels, 1999
Photo by Marlaina Key
Auckland University of Technology (AUT), Sir Paul Reeves Building, bottom floor, 2 Governor Fitzroy Place, WG Building

The centrepiece represents Kahungunu the ancestor who gave his name to the Ngāti Kahungunu iwi. It is surrounded by manaia (stylised figures) denoting the strength of character for which Kahungunu was known. It represents scholarship and leadership and was gifted to AUT by the Māori people of Auckland in 1983.

This work combines exquisite tukutuku panels woven by Nopera’s wife Wanairangi and the intricate centrepiece carved by Nopera in 1983. The rimu (native timber) is repurposed from former army buildings on nearby Rangitoto Island and is decorated with pāua (abalone) from the far north and deep south of New Zealand

Team of carvers from Te Wānanga o Aotearoa
Ngā Wai o Horotiu Marae, 1997
Photo by Marlaina Key
Auckland University of Technology (AUT), Corner of Wellesley and St Paul Street

Ngā Wai o Horotiu Marae is named after the stream which once flowed down Queen Street. Local iwi (tribal people) were heavily involved in the marae’s planning, building and blessing. A large team of expert kōwhaiwhai (scroll shape) and tukutuku (lattice-work style) artisans were involved in the project. Within the carving of the building, you can see Pacific, Celtic and Māori designs representing the diversity of cultures at Auckland University of Technology.

The marae’s meeting house was named Te Pūrengi (ropes supporting a canoe mast) by Ngāti Whātua. Te Kaipara is the name gifted to the whare kai (dining hall). It is the name of the west coast harbour which historically provided food and shelter to tangata whenua (local indigenous people). The marae enables Māori culture to be understood and experienced.

Fred Graham (Ngāti Korokī Kahukura, Ngāti Raukawa)
Te Waka Toi o Tāmaki, 2011
Photo by Marlaina Key
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, Corner of Kitchener Street and Wellesley Street, exterior north wall

Fred Graham’s Jurassic stone artwork references the building as a waka huia (a traditional richly carved vessel for safekeeping of one’s most precious possessions). The gallery’s building is a waka in the symbolic sense. It highlights the gallery’s role as keeper of Auckland’s taonga toi (art treasure).

The triangles relate to the location of the gallery on the side of Rangipuke (hill of the skies) which once held three pā (fortified villages). Rangipuke is the ridge which forms the eastern watershed for the Queen Street valley, which includes Albert Park and Symonds Street.

The wave patterning symbolises the wai (waters) of the Waiariki (spring of chiefly waters) and the Waihorotiu (a stream which was home to a legendary taniwha or spirit).

Arnold Manaaki Wilson (Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Tarawāhi) and Anthony Wilson (Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Tarawāhi, Ngāpuhi)
He Aha Te Wā - Moments In Time, 2011
Photo by Marlaina Key
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, Kitchener Street, forecourt

Arnold Wilson and his son Anthony carved three giant columns to grace the entrance of the gallery. They used kauri, a native tree, one of the rākau rangatira (great trees of the forest).

The columns represent the Māori atua (deities), Ranginui (Sky Father), Papatūānuku (Earth Mother) and Tāne Mahuta atua/God of the forest who was responsible for the separation of his parents Ranginui and Papatūānuku).

Pakati (dog-tooth style) patterning is used on the columns to reference ruru (the morepork / native owl) as kaitiaki (guardians) of the building. They decided on pakati as the patterning style as it has a backbone on which they could structure the birds’ feathers.

Lonnie Hutchinson (Ngāi Tahu, Samoan)
Tupu Te Māramatanga, Kia Ita, Te Taumata Nau Ka Toro, Ka Toro, 2011
Photo by Marlaina Key
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, Kitchener Street, lobby | Open 7 days

Waharoa (thresholds) are important in Māori culture as markers between spaces, states and realms. Hutchinson’s waharoa provide delineation of the space between the tapu (sacred) nature of the artworks within, and the noa (ordinary) nature of day-to-day life outside.

Kōwhaiwhai patterns (traditional designs inspired by nature) are found on wharenui heke (meeting house rafters). The designs are laser-cut into plywood and reflect a journey from the ground upwards.

Hutchinson drew inspiration from systems that exist in both nature and art as a foundation for nurturing and supporting connection between tāngata (people), whenua (land) and toi (origins / source of mankind).

Chris Booth (Pākehā)
Gateway, 1990
Photo by Marlaina Key
Albert Park, top of Victoria Street East

Gateway is a magnificent 18-meter-tall structure welcoming visitors to Albert Park. Chris Booth created this sculpture using basalt stone boulders, stainless steel and aluminium.

The stones Booth used for this sculpture were carefully considered and selected by elders of Ngāti Kura and Ngāti Rehia hapū iwi (tribal people). Ngāti Kura elders lifted the tapu (supernatural restriction/protection) from the stones and donated them to the project as a gift to Auckland City. The Department of Conservation and local landowners were also a part of the collaborative selection of the stones for the sculpture.

The work was created for Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. It was commissioned by the AMP Society with assistance from the ASB Community Trust in 1988 and installed in 1990.

Lisa Reihana (Ngāti Hine, Ngāpuhi, Ngāi Tū)
Justice, 2017
Photo by Marlaina Key
Ellen Melville Centre, 2 Freyberg Place, O’Connell Street façade

Lisa Reihana’s bronze sculpture, Justice, forms the centrepiece of the Ellen Melville Centre façade, and is her first public artwork in bronze. The sculpture is a strong singular form with gentle curves.

It is set on the 1950s style whimsical abstract wall. It honours the life of Ellen Melville; a prominent advocate for women to fully participate in public life during the first half of last century. Melville was one of the country’s first female lawyers and in 1913 became the first woman elected to a city council in New Zealand, serving as an Auckland City Councillor for 33 years.

Justice honours Melville’s achievements as a politician, women’s advocate, and pioneer. The scales of justice are a testimony to her 37-year legal career.

Ngāti Porou and Ngāti Whātua Orākei Weavers
Tukutuku, 1962
Photo by Marlaina Key
Ellen Melville Centre, 1 Freyberg Place, Pioneers Hall, Level 2

These hand woven tukutuku (ornamental latticework) panels were presented to the New Zealand Pioneers’ and Descendants’ Club by Mr and Mrs Eruera Stirling. They were a gift to mark the occasion of the opening of the Pioneer Women’s Hall in 1962. Ōrākei marae weavers restored both the pātū (screen) and tukutuku areas for the re-opening of the venue in 2017 which was renamed the Ellen Melville Centre.

Historically, tukutuku were used around the walls of Māori meeting houses, particularly between carvings. The panels consist of vertical stakes often made of toetoe - kākaho (stems of a native grass-like plant).

The interwoven horizontal rods are traditionally made from tōtara (native timber) or stalks of bracken-fern. Kiekie (native flax) and pīngao (golden sand sedge) are used to form the patterning.

Graham Tīpene (Ngāti Whātua, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāti Manu, Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Haua), John Reynolds (Artist) and Isthmus, Landscape Architects
Untitled, 2017
Photo by Marlaina Key
Freyberg Place

During the remodelling of Freyberg Place, a rigorous strategy for stormwater management, materials and planting was developed. Consultation with mana whenua (tribal group with guardianship rights over the area) was a key component of this.

The importance to iwi (extended kinship group) of the water that once flowed through the area has been acknowledged and expressed in the integration of Tipene’s artwork. Tipene etched the stone in the water feature that cascades in a series of pools among the steps.

The design of the square is based on artist John Reynolds’ narrative 'One hundred and eighty-nine steps' – a design that sees myriad and intersecting flights of steps and terraces applied to the square’s banked edge.