Entertainment | Auckland Council

‘We are still here’ Art display lights and sings waiata for Tāmaki Makaurau

Credit / Te Kaunihera o Tāmaki Makaurau

A new art display drawing on cultural narratives will feature a light and sound experience in the heart of Tāmaki Makaurau.

Waimahara is open to the public at the northern end of Myer’s Park and includes an interactive function where the sound feature is triggered by singing one of the two composed waiata found onsite.

Lead ringatoi Graham Tipene (Ngāti Whātua, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Hauā, Ngāti Manu) said this comes as an opportunity for iwi to express their cultural narratives.

“Being chosen to be the artist for this is not about me. It’s about us as an iwi and our cultural expression and our historical narrative and our historical relationship with the area.

“And just to remind ourselves that we are still here and that we are still relevant and then in generations to come, our kids can also be reminded of that also.”

Tipene worked alongisde technology specialists and waiata composers.

“A lot of you got art galleries, museums, you stand in front of the artwork and look at it. This one I wanted you to walk into it so that it is below you above you either side of you.

“When close your eyes and then there’s the next part of the experience where the experience enters you and then down inside you so that it’s all-encompassing.”

One of the composers, Tarumai-i-tawhiti Kerehoma-Hoani (Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, Te Whakatōhea, Te Whānau-a-Apanui, Tūhoe, Ngāi Takoto, Te Rarawa) said she was able to work alongside her sisters, Tuirina Wehi and Moeahi Kerehoma.

“Tuirina, Moeahi and myself came into the project and we were tasked with composing a waiata and just it’s been an amazing experience.

“We pay homage to the environment which we classify as our atua. We pay respect to our ancestors who have held on to the knowledge handed down to us.”

She said the essence of the waiata references the importance of water within te ao Māori and the origin story dating back to Ngā atua Māori.

“We’re fortunate to still retain that knowledge in the lyrics, it’s quite a lot of depth and breadth.

“The experience has been amazing and getting to know the team and what Waimahara is all about.”

The display opened last year in December as an ambient experience.

Taru mai-i-tawhiti Kerehoma-Hoani (far left), Moeahi Kerehoma and Tuirina Wehi (far right) are the team behind composing the waiata for Waimahara. Credit / David St Geroge