Tūrama lights up Queen Street : 11 July to 20 August

Publish Date : 27 Jun 2023

Tūrama, the popular series of large-scale lighting pieces first lit up Queen Street for Matariki ki te Manawa in June last year, is returning to a renewed Queen Street on 11 July and will stay in place until 20 August.

So, make this Matariki Festival (11 to 22 July) the time you visit Queen Street, renewed with widened footpaths, planters that tell a story and our new Waihorotiu path.

Experience Tūrama - it will help you rediscover the Waihorotiu valley. You'll be able to imagine how it looked and felt in centuries past. Tūrama will give you a symbolic look back at time and place.

Begin your Tūrama experience at the waharoa / gateway arching above the intersection of Queen and Shortland Streets. Te Wehenga marks where the land once met the sea.

Each plane of the archway tells a different story. Face the sea and you’ll see symbolism of the  moana / harbour. Face the whenua / land and plants and birds will adorn the surface of the waharoa.

As you head south along Queen Street, look around and notice two significant artworks by celebrated artist Fred Graham (Ngāti Korokī Kahukura), Kaitiaki II  and Te Waka Taumata o Horotiu, which also speak to the cultural landscape that exists in this valley.

At night, when the lights shine, you’ll meet the manu (birds) of this place. Two have wingspans of more than four metres, soaring on crosswires high above Queen Street.

First meet Kawau Tikitiki / cormorant. This majestic seabird is revered by Māori for its constancy of purpose and tenacity. The bird’s head looks to the east towards the ancestral heartland of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei.

Walk further south and meet the silver-grey feathers of a wise white kāhu / hawk gliding gracefully above Victoria and Queen Streets. Kāhu Kōrako looks to the south-west towards Waiuku, acknowledging the homeland of cherished Māori artist Fred Graham (Ngāti Korokī Kahukura) ONZM, whose work has inspired parts of Tūrama.     

As you arrive at Queen Street’s arts precinct, listen carefully and you’ll hear birdsong and see Manu Korokī. Two flocks of playful, stylised indigenous birds form a chorus on either side of Queen Street - outside the Civic and St James historic theatres.

These artworks celebrate our manu / birds, whose various characteristics are seen by Māori as a metaphor of our own individual personalities. 

As you arrive at Aotea Square, you’ll come face to face with an eight-metre tall representation (above) of resident kaitiaki figure Horotiu, positioned at the northern prow of the Town Hall. This valley and its river were the domain of Horotiu, an enduring presence reminding us and challenging us to look after this valley.

Tūrama is a creative collaboration between talented artists Graham Tipene (Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Hauā, Ngāti Manu), Ataahua Papa (Ngāti Korokī Kahukura, Ngāti Mahuta) and Angus Muir Design with Auckland Council city centre place activation principal Barbara Holloway

Iwi manaaki Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei and Te Kaunihera o Tāmaki Makaurau  / Auckland Council are proud to bring Tūrama to the city centre, supported by the city centre targeted rate, for all Aucklanders to enjoy during Matariki Festival and until 20 August.

Join artist Graham Tipene walking with his whānau through Tūrama in June 2022: 

See the full festival line-up at matarikifestival.org.nz and scroll to the Matariki ki te Manawa line-up for city centre experiences. Search events via the OurAuckland interactive map.

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