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Colours of renewal light up landmarks for Diwali Festival

Te Ara I Whiti – The Lightpath re-imagines Rangoli-inspired pattern

Published: 9 November 2020

Updated 9 November

Known as the Festival of Lights, Diwali signifies the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil and the renewal of life.

In celebration of this time-honoured festival, landmarks across Tāmaki Makaurau will be bathed in light during Auckland Diwali Festival, including Rangoli-inspired lighting on Te Ara I Whiti – The Lightpath and a special light and sound projection on Papatoetoe Town Hall.

Delivered by Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), Auckland Diwali Festival will see more than 100 free activities take place at more than 30 community venues across Auckland.

Joining the celebrations, Auckland’s award-winning cycleway and public artwork Te Ara I Whiti will light up every evening from 27 October to 14 November in vibrant hues of orange, yellow and fuchsia.         

The lighting display created by David Hayes, director of iion, starts by painting in the background before rhythmic patterns of colour move along the railing of the path, reminiscent of the traditional art form of Rangoli.

The shifting colour combinations finish with a washing away of colour across the length of the 850-metre path.

Part of Auckland Council’s public art collection, Te Ara I Whiti is an interactive feature of Auckland's inner-city; a whimsical and popular cycleway that cuts a path through central Auckland.

For more information on Te Ara I Whiti, please visit the Auckland Public Art / He Kohinga Toi website.

Mayor Phil Goff says, “The themes of Diwali are common to all our faiths and cultures and particularly relevant given the challenges we have united to overcome this year.

“While Diwali Festival will be celebrated differently in Auckland this year due to COVID-19, it will remain a special time to enjoy with friends and family.”

Lighting dates and times

The lighting of Te Ara I Whiti combines with other Auckland landmarks at various times throughout the festival in a glittering display of Diwali colour:

Tuesday 27 October – Saturday 14 November:

  • Te Ara I Whiti - The Lightpath

Thursday 12 to Sunday 15 November:

  • Sky Tower
  • Auckland Viaduct Harbour

Thursday 12 to Monday 16 November:

  • Auckland War Memorial Museum

Ellen Melville Centre (27 Oct – 14 Nov), Te Oro and Avondale Community Centre (30-31 Oct), Wesley Community Centre and Nathan Homestead (6-7 Nov) will all be lit in Diwali colours of fuchsia and yellow.

A specially created light and sound projection called Light Temple: A celebration of Diwali will transform the Papatoetoe Town Hall to tell the story of Diwali.

Light Temple tells the story of Rama, Sita and their entourage returning from war and exile, with their arrival signalling the start of Diwali. The celebration in lights continues as the building becomes a canvas for intricate Hindu temple carvings. As the light show and music reach a crescendo, the building appears to break up into particles of light that slowly drift off into the night.

The show has been created by Auckland-based multi-disciplinary creative studio Creature Post and North Foundation, with Previn Naidu creating bespoke music and sound composition for the show.

Creature Post creative director Lakshman Anandanayagam says: “It's our privilege to create a show around Diwali for the Indian community in Papatoetoe and the wider community to enjoy. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to create a large format projection work for such an iconic building; a beautiful natural canvas for video mapping. Expect to see beautiful lights and vibrant colours in this celebratory piece.”

Light Temple can be viewed on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights over two weekends (6-8 November and 13-15 November) at the Papatoetoe Town Hall.

For the Auckland Diwali Festival 2020 line-up please visit Aucklandnz.com/Diwali

About Te Ara I Whiti

The concept for Te Ara I Whiti - The Lightpath was created by Monk Mackenzie Architects and LandLAB, in association with artist Katz Maihi.

Maihi's six-metre-tall black metal pou (land markers) welcome people onto the path, and at the beginning of the cycleway there is a large pink Māori design that has been worked into the road surface.

During the day, the distinctive pink path adds energy and heart to its location, with a colour that represents the heartwood of a freshly cut tōtara tree. LED lights line the safety barriers and pulse as people pass by, making the path just as vibrant at night.

Te Ara I Whiti celebrates being active, allowing pedestrians and cyclists to travel from Upper Queen Street to Victoria Street West, running from Canada Street to Union Street.

The lights can be programmed to celebrate and respond to special occasions and events that happen around Tāmaki Makaurau throughout the year.

Read more: Cultural Arts

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