WAITUHI Matariki public art series

WAITUHI is an annual series of public art projects timed to coincide with Matariki.

Geometric patterned flag design by Hemi Macgregor.
Hemi Macgregor

The aim of WAITUHI is to take the festivities and kaupapa of Matariki to a wider audience beyond the traditional arts spaces of the galleries, museums and theatres, to enliven and activate public space with new artwork that acknowledges Māori culture and heritage in the city.

Ngā kai a Matariki, nāna i ao ake ki runga
The food supplies of Matariki, scooped up

This year’s WAITUHI project for the 8-flag poles on the border of Frank Kitts Park near Whairepo Lagoon have been designed by Wellington based artist and designer, Hemi Macgregor (Ngāti Rakaipaaka, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāi Tūhoe).

This will be the ninth year of WAITUHI. Every year, leading up to Matariki, we commission a locally based Māori artist to design work that acknowledges and celebrates Matariki as a time to come together, to reflect and remember, to farewell the past year and welcome in the new, and to honour the cultural heritage of this site at the water’s edge.

Hemi’s flag series, Ngā kai a Matariki, nāna i ao ake ki runga are bold and graphic, designed to draw attention to this space and for viewers to consider their meaning and connection to Matariki. The collision of contemporary and customary Māori design motifs creates a striking design that when caught by the wind will form an optical illusion.

"Toi is both a reminder and an enabler for us as Māori, much of the forms in our mahi toi remind us of our kaitiaki role within te taiao, a role of responsibility. For this project, I am delving into the interconnectedness of harvesting kai with the setting of the Matariki cluster and its reappearance in winter, which determines the abundance of the coming year." - Hemi Macgregor.

Hemi Macgregor is a Māori visual artist who works across sculpture, painting, installation, video and public art. Indigenous relationships and collaborative projects are central to his creative practice and have enabled him to establish robust indigenous networks. Hemi also works as a Senior Lecturer at Whiti o Rehua School of Art, Massey University here in Te Whanganui-a-Tara.

Past projects