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Tohorā surfacing: New public artwork set for Maclean Park

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A new public artwork is set to add vibrancy to Te Uruhi/Maclean Park in Paraparaumu Beach in 2020.

Hoardings have been set up around the site of where new sculpture Tohorā, designed by internationally-renowned New Zealand artist Kereama Taepa (Te Arawa, Te Āti Awa), will be installed prior to unveiling in early 2020. Visitors to this weekend’s Maclean Park Experience will be able to see where Tohorā will be located.

Tohorā, or whale, will be a nearly 10m long sculpture symbolising the journey of whales and other travellers through the Te Rau o te Rangi waters - the strait between Kapiti Island and the mainland. Made of pre-cast concrete Tohorā will include ambient lighting and sound effects to create an aural and visual experience.

The artwork’s design is based on the traditional Aramoana pattern, representing the concept of journeying, and will integrate into the refreshed Maclean Park where aspects of Aramoana have also been used.

Kāpiti Coast District Council Deputy Mayor and arts portfolio holder Janet Holborow says Tohorā will be a wonderful asset for Kāpiti and wider New Zealand.

"Tohorā will be a stunning piece of art that reflects the history and prehistory of Te Uruhi/Maclean Park and the local waters," Ms Holborow says.

"It will be a major work for the community to enjoy and will add vibrancy to our park. We envision it will also draw national and international visitors keen to see an original Kereama Taepa creation in a stunning location.

"This artwork will be a fabulous representation of the distinct cultural and natural character of Kāpiti. I can’t wait to see it in place."

The artwork was commissioned by Kāpiti Coast District Council’s Public Art Panel, following public consultation in 2017. Community consultation saw a theme of whales arise and this was reflected in the artist’s initial concepts. Detailed design concepts were developed in consultation with the site’s mana whenua Te Āti Awa and accepted by the Panel in October 2019.

About the Artist:

- Kereama Taepa is an award-winning artist who has earned a national and international reputation for his many public artworks. These include the installation A (Very) Brief History of Aotearoa near Te Papa in Wellington, the international award-winning Redwood Toilets in Rotorua, and a recent installation in Toronto, Canada.

- Kereama is passionate about the importance of public art and understanding not only the aesthetic and meaning but also the technical and practical elements of creating work designed to last for many years.

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