Explore art in the open air with a geo-location tool to guide you

Take a digital tour of He Kohinga Toi and discover a new way to experience the city this summer

Last Updated : 06 Dec 2021
Auckland Public Art / He Kohinga Toi website brings public art closer
Hīnaki / Guardian by Virginia King; Photo by David St George

Curiosity surrounds public art. It makes people wonder: Who is the artist? What does it mean? How does it relate to the local community?

Auckland Council’s Auckland Public Art / He Kohinga Toi website helps make public art more accessible. 

The website gives Aucklanders a new way to discover artworks nearby and in their favourite spaces. It shares the stories behind the collection.

With more than 100 artworks already online, the map functionality allows people to search and discover artworks from their phone or mobile device. Once ‘location’ is turned on (under settings on your device) you can geo-locate artworks wherever you are.

Whether you’re taking a walk in your local park, cycling to work or meeting friends in city spaces, you can now pinpoint nearby artworks from the public art collection and read the backstory.

“At face value public art challenges and inspires us, but without information it can also remain a mystery,” says acting Arts & Culture Manager Emily Trent. “So, we’re following the lead of art capitals around the world with a new digital platform.”

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Anthony Sumich’s A small house fits a hundred people you love

Councillor Alf Filipaina, Chair of the Parks, Arts, Community and Events Committee, says Auckland Public Art / He Kohinga Toi enables Aucklanders to make the most of the region’s public art, celebrating the unique identity of Tāmaki Makaurau.

“Every summer I look forward to learning more about the ideas and inspiration behind our art; the underlying thoughts of the artist,” he says.

What are you waiting for? Search by location, artist name or artwork type and discover art and artworks taking pride of place in the region’s parks and reserves, streets and squares.

To get started you can use a location filter when searching from the ‘Map / Mapi’ tab. If you click ‘North’ you’ll discover Estuarine by Louise Purvis and Virginia King’s Hīnaki / Guardian at Hobsonville Point, and many more.

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Estuarine by Louise Purvis

Use the magnifying glass icon to search by artist: if you enter ‘Anthony Sumich’, A small house fits a hundred people you love, located at Sturges Road in Henderson will pop up.

You can also use the ‘Artist index / Rārangi ringatoi’ to see which artists are on the website, including Billy Apple, Janet Lilo, Tanja McMillan, Sopolemalama Filipe Tohi and many others.

To find artworks that incorporate lighting elements click on the ‘Explore | Tūhura’ tab, then choose ’Light art’ from the buttons at the top. You’ll find artworks like Michael Parekowhai’s The Lighthouse / Tū Whenua-a-Kura and Paul Hartigan’s Signal-Echo.

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Michael Parekowhai’s The Lighthouse / Tū Whenua-a-Kura

For the kids, click on ‘For families’ from the ‘Explore / Tūhura’ tab. There you’ll find a delightful trio of sculptures in Myers Park, with native birds playing hide-and-seek. Hau te Kapakapa / The Flapping Wind, by Rachel Walters, reminds us of the importance of caring for local wildlife and the environment.

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Hau te Kapakapa / The Flapping Wind by Rachel Walters

A digital tour of He Kohinga Toi wouldn’t be complete without viewing some of the artworks by Māori artists. Click on the ‘Explore | Tūhura’ tab and choose ‘Māori artists’. Fred Graham’s Manurewa, which soars above Mission Bay as a kaitiaki (guardian) of the site, is just one of the inspiring artworks.

By exploring the stories behind the art you’ll learn more about the creativity of our artists and discover a different way to experience Auckland this summer.

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