Matariki resolute on Resolution

By Danielle Nicholson

Travelling north on Resolution Drive, the public artwork you glimpse in the distance cuts an imposing figure. For a time, people wondered what the seven structures were. Gradually, over the past four years, the public art piece has taken shape to become Te Ohomauri O Matariki - 'The awaking life force of Matariki'.

Created by artist Dion Hitchens, Te Ohomauri O Matariki sits on a roundabout at the northern end of Resolution Drive, in Rototuna.

The seven striking structures (pou) signify waka - the main mode of transport for Maori in pre-European times. The waka and their inscriptions tell the human and natural history of the Rototuna area. The seven pou are placed in a formation to represent the Matariki star constellation - also known as Pleiades - which marks the Maori New Year. The symbols embedded in each describe proverbs and aspects of history from the Rototuna area. The human history of the land is represented in the top symbol, while the natural history of the land is represented in the bottom symbol.

Between the pou, a cluster of migrating eels is suspended. Eels were abundant in swampy Rototuna and were a significant resource for local Maori in pre-European times. As well as being an important food source for local Iwi, they created a huge amount of industry for the area as eels were fished, processed, dried and traded.

The artwork was created using 7500 blocks of cedar, each a specific size and shape, and 15,000 nails hold the wood together. Te Ohomauri O Matariki has been constructed using 8500kg of steel. The eels are made from fibreglass and aluminium.

A plaque explaining the symbolism in the artwork is located over the road nearby.

- Hamilton News

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