Saturday, July 20, 2024

Art at heart of Myers Park makeover

Auckland Council has unveiled artists’ impressions of a groundbreaking new work of public art set to transform a utilitarian underpass at the northern end of Myers Park into an interactive experience of light and sound.

This artwork installation, billed as a ‘whakarongo environment’is designed to evoke an ‘awakening of the senses’ in the Myers Park underpass, Council said in a statement.

Created by Graham Tipene (Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei), Council says the artwork aims to offer a multi-sensory experience of the taniwha Horotiu – the kaitiaki (guardian) of the Wai O Horotiu stream.

“The sculptural form of Horotiu is achieved with rows of more than two thousand moulded scales hanging from the underside of the overbridge – illuminated in gold light and moving with the breeze,” COuncil said.

“Integrated into the enhanced underpass landscape, the new work of art creates a cultural stage activated by weather conditions and pitch and rhythm changes detected with the singing of specially commissioned waiata.”

The waiata, which speak about the rippling waters of Wai o Horotiu and Te Ao Māori values associated with water and the ‘water cycle’, have been composed by Moeahi Kerehoma (Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei), Tarumai Kerehoma-Hoani (Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei) and Tuirina Wehi (Ngai Tuhoe).

Council says a mana whenua choir singing the bespoke waiata, will be recorded with Justyn Pilbrow at Neil Finn’s Roundhead Studios later this year.

“The waiata can be learned and performed by anyone who visits the underpass as part of the sensory experience. The sound – the pitch and rhythm of your voice – can trigger varying levels of light and sound in the underpass; a metaphorical response from Horotiu – kaitiaki of this place.”

This is a uniquely Tāmaki Makaurau addition to Auckland Council’s collection of public art, scheduled to be completed and opened for Aucklanders and visitors in early 2023.

The Myers Park underpass upgrade is part of a wider programme of work known as the midtown regeneration.

Waitematā and Gulf Ward Councillor, Pippa Coom says Auckland’s historic Myers Park sits at the heart of midtown, an area undergoing significant renewal.

“The Wai O Horotiu stream which extends from this valley to the Waitematā is a significant city centre waterway, remembered and celebrated within this project. The waterway is now piped underground.

“I am delighted to see the work begin and our spectacular new public artwork take shape, woven with rich mana whenua stories of place,” says Cr Coom.

The Myers Park underpass upgrade is funded by Auckland Council, the city centre targeted rate and the Waitematā Local Board. The artwork is funded by Auckland Council’s Regional Public Art capital expenditure fund.

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