A $250,000 glass and light artwork representing the Horotiu Stream that once flowed down Queen St was unveiled outside the Civic Theatre last night, with a haiku (Japanese poem) by distinguished Maori poet Hone Tuwhare.
Glass artist Elizabeth McClure created Source, which is made up of five glass blocks set into the pavement and lit from below in varying colours to emphasise the representation of "water" running through them.
At the southern end of the artwork, developed in conjunction with the lead architects for Queen St, Architectus, and HUB Street Equipment, is Hone Tuwhare's haiku, etched in stone.
Source is one of four artworks proposed for the troubled Queen St upgrade, which has nearly doubled from the original budget of $23.4 million to $43.5 million.
A Herald-DigiPoll survey last week found overall support for the Queen St project, although the latest row over bus lanes has stirred debate.
Of the 400 Auckland City residents surveyed, 54 per cent approved of what the council was doing in replacing trees, widening footpaths and introducing bus lanes to leave just one lane each way for cars - compared with 40.1 per cent who disapproved.
McClure said glass was the right medium to represent the ancient Horotiu Stream still running "under our feet" in Queen St.
"The inherent qualities of glass effectively encompass the qualities of water, such as movement, clarity, depth and reflective light," she said.
The artwork is made up of hundreds of pale green and clear glass panes stacked in five, 3m-long glass blocks contained within stainless steel units set in a "river line".
The blocks are lit from below by light-emitting devices. An epoxy solution has been applied to the surface of the glass to make it slip-resistant and safe for pedestrians.
Mayor Dick Hubbard, who unveiled the artwork by turning on the lights last evening, said Source was a stunning addition to Queen St.
"The stream is a symbol of life, energy and new beginnings and it has been captured here in this beautiful piece of art," he said.
Three other planned artworks for Queen St are a neon light installation by artist Paul Hartigan near the Queen St-Karangahape Rd intersection and two sculptures by artist Fred Graham to mark the original foreshore area near Fort St and Shortland St.