'Hauhake’ is a rain art work by Janine and Charles Williams.
The title translates as ‘harvest’ and features patterns of waka stencilled in rows – like crops – recalling the time when iwi Ngāti Pāoa would bring the harvest of their lands by sea to be traded in what is now downtown Auckland.
The public unveiling of the work also marked the launch of the programme for Auckland Council’s Matariki Festival 2016.
Ngāti Pāoa is the event’s host iwi.
“Only when we pour some liquid over it can you see it. That connection alone is really powerful because it was the water that the waka rowed on to come here. It all starts to link in, making the story even more powerful,” says Charles, one half of the husband and wife street art duo who have just returned from the Festival of Pacific Arts in Guam.
The site of the work at the bottom of Queen St, outside the Britomart Train Station, is also significant as it sits on reclaimed land.
The pre-1850 shoreline ran along Fore St (present day Fort St) and the street where ‘Hauhake’ is painted would have been the seabed when the waka were making their voyages back and forth from Waitawa.
“It’s like windows into the past and revealing the past that’s definitely all connected. Not seeing something, then seeing something, it’s a bit like knowledge and information. There’s so many layers to the simple image,” says Janine, who is of Ngāti Pāoa descent.
Matariki – Maori New Year – is our opportunity to tell these stories while also looking to the future.