Installation of a long-awaited sculpture at Te Uruhi/Maclean Park in Paraparaumu is set to begin next week.

Designed by internationally-renowned New Zealand artist Kereama Taepa of Te Arawa and Te Āti Awa iwi, Tohorā, 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 Kāpiti Island and the mainland.

Made of pre-cast concrete, Tohorā will include ambient lighting and sound effects to evoke the passage of the whales and create an aural and visual experience.

Work to install Tohorā is due to commence on Monday and continue until June 8.

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During this time there will be some disruption at the park.

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 said it was exciting to see this work finally realised.

"We started planning for this piece over two years ago and have worked with the artist, iwi and stakeholders to get to this point."

"Tohorā will reflect the history and prehistory of Te Uruhi/Maclean Park and the local waters and will be a wonderful asset not just for Kāpiti but New Zealand.

"It will be a major work for the community to enjoy and will add vibrancy to our park."

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.

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Detailed design concepts were developed in consultation with the site's mana whenua Te Āti Awa and accepted by the panel in October 2019.

"The public art panel liked the work because it strongly reflected the community's responses and had a strong integration with the overall park redevelopment and that the artwork is reflected in the design elements in the park."

A spokesperson said the estimated cost was around $145,000.

"The costs of this project were committed before Covid-19 arrived and a proportion of the costs were paid out in previous financial years.

"Design, fabrication and installation of the work have been funded from the Public Art Acquisitions."


About Kareama Taepa
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.