Waituhi Matariki public art display

Waituhi is an annual public art project timed to coincide with Matariki.

The aim of Waituhi is to take the festivities and theme 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 the importance of Māori culture and heritage in the city.

Local artists Matthew McIntyre Wilson and Maioha Kara have been selected to develop work for this year’s Waituhi projects on the Te Ngakau – Civic Square side of the Town Hall hoarding and on the flag poles at Frank Kitts Park near Whairepo Lagoon.

Waituhi hoarding design by Matthew McIntyre Wilson.

Waituhi hoarding design, Matthew McIntyre Wilson

Matthew McIntyre Wilson

The Te Ngakau – Civic Square Town Hall hoarding artwork by McIntyre Wilson follows on from a lightbox exhibition he had during Matariki last year, titled Whetū Whitu. This work builds on McIntyre Wilson’s jewellery and weaving practice, reproducing the sculpted objects for different contexts. 

McIntyre Wilson has a series of finely woven Whetū brooches which are made from copper, silver and gold. When positioned and photographed on a flat surface they appear like star the constellations, Matariki and Puanga which mark the Māori New Year. Puanga is of particular importance to McIntyre Wilson being of Taranaki descent. For Taranaki Whānui, Puanga (the star Rigel) marks a time of abundant harvest. It is a time to reflect on the year that has passed and the year to come.

McIntyre Wilson’s Whetū brooches have been arranged and photographed on a large slice of Greywacke which represents the night sky. Greywacke is one of Aoteroa’s most common types of rock, the hills and coast of the Wellington region are made up of the stone.

Waituhi flag design by Maioha Kara.

Waituhi flag design by Maioha Kara.

Maioha Kara

Maioha Kara’s design for the flags at Frank Kitts Park directly relate to Matariki and the Māori New Year as a time for remembrance and celebration of what was and what is yet to come. Acknowledging the events of the year, remembering those no longer with us and celebrating new life and a brighter Māori New Year. 

Kara’s flags designs incorporate a series of dots variously positioned across each flag and signifying stylised star constellations. Kara was inspired to use a multitude of bright colour gradients to reflect the diversity of Wellington and the many different people residing here. In light of the Matariki remembrance and celebrations, Kara felt that it would be a nice way to incorporate and celebrate our colourful community.