Mana Motuhake unveiled in Victoria Square

Mana Motuhake unveiled in Victoria Square Mana Motuhake unveiled in Victoria Square Mana Motuhake unveiled in Victoria Square Mana Motuhake unveiled in Victoria Square Mana Motuhake unveiled in Victoria Square Mana Motuhake unveiled in Victoria Square

A series of artworks in Victoria Square called Mana Motuhake has been unveiled and blessed. The installation of Mana Motuhake is one of the final elements of Te Papa Ōtākaro/Avon River Precinct to be completed.

Mana Motuhake was designed and produced by Ngāi Tahu master carver Fayne Robinson in conjunction with Matapopore and took around 2500 hours to create, using a blend of modern and traditional techniques.

The waka forms are a direct reference to Victoria Square once being a canoe landing site for the purpose of trading food, gathered at mahinga kai sites significant to Ngāi Tahu.

Matapopore Chairperson, Aroha Reriti-Crofts, says the six figures inside the waka pay tribute to Te Tiriti o Waitangi (The Treaty of Waitangi) signatories for Ngāi Tahu.

“The carved forms reflect the moko worn by signatories of the Treaty. This artwork portrays the mana of the signatories and supports the Treaty relationship between Ngāi Tūāhuriri/ Ngāi Tahu and the Crown.

“A lot of effort has gone into restoring Victoria Square, so we’ve done all we can to ensure Mana Motuhake respects and enhances this much-loved space.”

Nik Kneale has been the design lead for the restoration of Victoria Square, and worked closely with Matapopore to integrate artworks within the existing public space to better represent the shared cultural history of the location. 

“The two waka of Mana Motuhake acknowledges Ngāi Tūāhuriri standing in this place; while their position, flanking the statue of Queen Victoria and of equal height to it, speaks of both partnership and independence.”

The lighting around the Queen Victoria Statue has also been enhanced to make the area enjoyable and interesting at night.

Seven light pole wraps feature silhouettes of the Puanga and Matariki constellations, and mahinga kai designs honouring the varieties of foods historically traded in the Market Square.

The Christchurch earthquakes had left Victoria Square in poor condition, unable to meet the current and future needs of the community and visitors. Significant work above and below ground was required to restore it as a prized asset for the city. Along with providing design leadership and technical advisory, Boffa Miskell undertook all consenting for the project; and planners Holly Gardiner and Claire Kelly were present at the event.

Victoria Square was a finalist for the Ngā Aho Maori Design award at this year’s The Designers Institute of New Zealand Best Awards; and a key element of the Te Papa Ōtākaro Avon River Park, which was the George Malcolm Supreme Award winner at the 2019 NZILA Awards.

For further information please contact Nik Kneale, Holly Gardiner or Claire Kelly

28 November 2019