Te Rerenga Ora Iti, Waiariki, Te Reuroa, Waipapa

Shortland Street, University, Constitution Hill

Today Shortland Street is dominated by a cluster of corporate buildings and heads past Emily Place towards The University of Auckland campus. Constitution Hill is a steep walk down past Waipapa marae.

Emily Place reserve, now with its remnant pōhutukawa (native tree) glade and quiet demeanour is known as Te Rererenga-ora-iti meaning ‘the escape of a few survivors’. The name describes an incident where Ngāti Whātua forces drove their enemies off the headland and very few survived. The point was demolished to fill in Official Bay.

Waiariki, the ‘chiefly waters’, was a puna (spring) that once flowed near the present-day High Court building. Waiariki was a key source of water for those who occupied papakāinga (settlements) in this area.

Waipapa was a significant Māori fishing village which once stood near the intersection of Beach Road, Parnell Rise, Stanley Street and The Strand.

Ralph Hotere (Te Aupōuri, Te Rarawa ) and Bill Culbert
Black Stump, 1999
Photo by Marlaina Key
Vero Centre, 48 Shortland Street

Ralph Hotere and Bill Culbert are two of Aotearoa (New Zealand’s) most renowned local and internationally known artists. They have partnered on a number of major projects.

Black Stump is an outstanding example of one of their collaborations. Both artists favour a similar dark theme for much of their work however they often introduce elements of natural and artificial light.

The dark and the light come together here, with Black Stump perforated by a constellation of tiny holes and the use of layered glass to represent the stars of the southern night sky. The tower is black powder coated steel and is 20 meters tall by one-meter square.

Hone Papita Raukura ‘Ralph’ Hotere, Order of New Zealand, 1931 – 2013.

Lyonel Grant (Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Rangiwewehi, Te Arawa)
Pou Tokomanawa, 1999
Photo by Marlaina Key
Lumley Centre, 88 Shortland Street

Pou Tokomanawa is a central heart pole of a meeting house. Carved pou narrate the relationship between the ancestors, the environment, and the reputation of the tangata whenua (tribal people).

This pou provides a cultural welcome or farewell to visitors of the 29-storey Lumley Centre as they go about their business.

Lyonel Grant is a widely acclaimed master carver and sculptor now residing in the United States and working with American First Nations peoples. His work can be found in public spaces all over Aotearoa / New Zealand.

Fred Graham (Ngāti Korokī Kahukura)
Justice, 1999
Photo by Marlaina Key
Auckland High Court, corner of 24 Waterloo Quadrant and Parliament Street

This sculpture has three components and was created using Oamaru limestone. It represents the High Court and is based on the balance scales which are traditionally associated with justice. It also symbolises those involved in the court process, including a barrister defending the accused.

The twelve pieces of timber draw their significance from the Māori legend of Tāne who climbed through the twelve heavens to obtain three baskets of knowledge. The twelve river stones represent the twelve members of the jury.

Jacob Manu Scott (Ngāti Kahungunu, Te Arawa, Ngāti Raukawa)
Waharoa, 1990
Photo by Marlaina Key
Auckland High Court, corner of 24 Waterloo Quadrant and Parliament Street

The glasswork represents tangata whenua (indigenous people) of this land, their guardianship and partnership. Scott’s sculpture in stained glass welcomes visitors to the High Court. Each coloured glass panel has cultural significance for the people of Aotearoa (New Zealand).

The purple panel acknowledges the Ngāti Whātua people – their rights to chieftainship over their lands, villages, and treasures. The green panel, the Tainui people’s rights to chieftainship and management of their iwi (tribal group).

The red panel represents Māori people and their rights to their perspective. The blue panel represents pākehā (European people) and acknowledges their responsibilities. At another level, the individual panels represent every individual’s right to be themselves – in reasonable cooperation and partnership with others.

Pākariki (Pāki) Harrison (Ngāti Porou)
Waipapa Marae, 1988
Photo by Marlaina Key
The University of Auckland Marae, Department of Māori Studies, 16 Wynyard Street

This marae (meeting place) is named after the fishing village, Waipapa. The name acknowledges Ngāti Whātua Orākei as the tangata whenua (indigenous people) of Waitematā. Logs of tōtara and kauri were donated by the Ngāti Hine tribe for the carvings.

The whare whakairo (an ornamentally carved building) is named Tānenuiarangi. Harrison (1928 – 2008), the tohunga whakairo (master carver), conceived the work to reflect the primary ancestors that students of all tribes can identify with.

Around the walls are the captains and priest-navigators of the waka that brought the ancestors of the different tribes to Aotearoa (New Zealand) in the 14th century. Also included is Tangi’ia, an ancestor whose presence connects the islands of the Pacific with Aotearoa thus incorporating the Pacific as a tribal connection.

Delani Brown (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Raukawa, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, Tainui Te Herenga Mātai Pūkaha)
Te Pou Herenga Tangata, 2019
Photo by Michelle Ardern
Faculty of Engineering, University of Auckland, 20 Symonds Street

Te Pou Herenga Tangata is the mauri or life essence and the kaitiaki (guardian) of Te Herenga Mātai Pūkaha, the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Auckland. It is a symbol of the connection to the whenua and the people - to those who are here and those who are yet to come.

The name was gifted by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei at the official opening, representing the notion that everyone is welcome and brings with them their histories, knowledge, and creativity. Some of the values that the pou represents are whakawhanaungatanga (establishing relationships), kaitiakitanga (guardianship) of people and mātauranga (knowledge), creativity, innovation, diversity and collective wisdom.

Michael Parekowhai (Ngā Ariki Rotoawe, Ngāti Whakarongo)
Kapa Haka, 2008
Photo by Marlaina Key
The University of Auckland, 5 Alfred Street, Behind the Old Barracks Wall and Old Choral Hall

This bronze is part of a series known as Kapa Haka.

The artist was inspired by the sight of his older brother Paratene, standing in a doorway in just that stance, in his role as a security guard. Parekowhai had not expected to meet his brother that day and saw him in that moment, as a stranger would have seen him.

“One of the thoughts behind the work is that this is the undervalued servant or service provider,” Michael says, “the nameless helper in society that keeps us safe, though we don’t know it, like the unknown soldier, but less heroic.”

Auckland University College Māori Club and Māori Secondary School pupils tutored by, Henare Toka (Ngāti Whatua, Kaipara) Mere Toka (Ngāti Ruanui, Hawera)
Tukutuku Panels, 1954
Photo by Michelle Ardern
University Clocktower, 22 Princes Street

Produced using traditional techniques and materials, these magnificent tukutuku (woven latticework) panels exemplify the approach to reviving customary tukutuku in the mid-twentieth century. Originally installed within the Auckland Adult Education Centre at 21 Princes Street, they were intended to be both aesthetic and provide future educational instruction.

At that time, the centre was the only building in the city decorated with Māori artwork and was praised as ‘an antidote to urban alienation for Māori’. Fortunately, when the centre closed, the panels survived and have been restored and are now installed in the clocktower.

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki,
Photo by David St George
Corner Kitchener and Wellesley Streets | Open daily, 10am–5pm

Take a visual journey through New Zealand’s unique bi-cultural history at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. Enter through majestic kauri columns adorned with the carvings of master Māori artists, Arnold Manaaki Wilson, and Anthony Wilson.

Then, across four floors, explore many centuries of art in one of Tāmaki Makaurau’s (Auckland’s) most iconic buildings. From the contemporary Māori art of today to the rangatira (chiefs) painted in sharp-focused detail by 19th-century portraitists Goldie and Lindauer, discover one of the largest collections of New Zealand art right in the heart of Auckland City.

Free tours run 11.30am and 1.30pm daily.
Gallery entry is free.