Te Whakaaturanga o Te Aro Pā

Artistic projections on video screens at 115 Manners Street, next to the Opera House, celebrate the rich heritage around Te Aro Pā and the iwi who connect to the surrounding whenua.


Te Whakaaturanga o Te Aro Pā is a Council creative collaboration and partnership with the Design School of Te Herenga Waka, Victoria University of Wellington.

Digital designer David Hakaraia (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Pāoa), a senior Māori lecturer at Victoria University Te Herenga Waka and Deputy Head of School, is curating the first twelve months of the video programme, in collaboration with Toa Waaka (Ngāti Toa, Te Āti Awa, Ngā Puhi, Ngāti Porou, and Ngāti Koata) as mana whenua advisor on pūrākau (Māori myths/ legends).

The digital works will be changed four times a year.

Current work

Another Casualty of Colonisation, The Rise & Fall of Te Aro Pā

Āhea | When January 2024 - April 2024
Ki hea | Where 115 Manners Street | View on Google Maps
Te utu | Cost Free

This pūrākau illustrates the impacts of colonisation on the Māori settlement of Te Aro Pā following the arrival of the first European settlers in Te Whanganui-a-Tara.

Through this we hope to bring to life the experience of cohabitation between Pakeha and Māori during this time. As per custom, local iwi would offer their manaakitanga to any incoming friendly manuhiri. This often-created situations of mutual benefit between these interacting cultures allowing for the formation of close relationships as they traded and shared their unique skills, resources, and knowledge with one another.

However, in traditional Māori society there was no equivalent concept for the western idea of private property land rights. This incongruence between collectivist and individualist cultural ideas of ownership paved the way for the exploitation of Māori by wealthy and powerful pakeha corporate institutions and individuals.

These factors created an escalating tension and conflict between the cultures, as Māori rapidly found pakeha encroaching upon their lands, preventing them from carrying out their traditional way of life, and stripping them of their livelihoods. Ultimately the sheer volume of incoming pakeha arrivals was unsustainable and contributed to the abandonment of Te Aro Pā.

This project is dedicated to the Māori displaced during this disruptive and tumultuous time and their descendants.

Pūrākau retold by Toa Waaka.
Illustrations by Nicholas Ahu Gartner. (Ngāti Tūwharetoa).
Animation by Tom Trengrove.
Sound Design by Bea Gladding (Ngāti Porou, Ngāpuhi) & Benjamin Hunt.
Taonga puoro performed by Byron Hikaka (Ngā Ruahine, Ngāti Tūwharetoa and Te Arawa).

Past projects

  • Tom Trengrove and David Hakaraia (Ngati Paoa & Ngapuhi), Heke ki Ponekeneke (2023)
  • Tanya Te Miringa Te Rorarangi Ruka (Ngati Pakau, Ngapuhi) – Waimapihi (2023), Aue te Manuhiri (2022)
  • David Hakaraia, Tom Trengrove - Whai Repo (2023)