Keri Mei (Te Āti Awa, Te Whānau-ā-Apanui) and Tina collaborated on the development of the mural design commissioned by Wellington City Council, to tell a story about the dual history of the site.
Drawing on their experience and whakapapa they created a work that responds to the heritage of the area and to the theatre itself.
The title of this mural is the well-known Māori whakataukī, Kia whakatōmuri te haere whakamua, which translates as walking backwards into the future. This whakataukī speaks to the site and to the kaupapa of the artwork, that we should look to the past to inform the future.
The artwork begins at the south end of the wall at the mouth of Te Waimāpihi awa from a symbolic representation of a moko kauae down into and along the ground, feeding the wetlands and propelling forward the giant tuna (eel), known as Waitangi that spans the length of the wall.
Iwi called the awa Wai-Māpihi, the stream or bathing place of Māpihi, a local chieftainess of Kāti Māmoe and Ngāi Tara descent. Within the mouth of the awa stars appear with the cluster of Matariki on the left, and Puanga on the right.