Newest addition to Auckland's public art collection unveiled at Pakuranga Rotary Walkway

Publish Date : 09 Nov 2023
Nga Manu2

Pakuranga’s latest public artwork - Ngā Manu by Dion Hitchens - has been unveiled.

Commissioned by Auckland Council Public Art and Pakuranga Rotary, the work graces the Rotary Walkway at Sanctuary Point in the Bramley Drive Reserve.

Auckland Council public art manager Hayley Wolters says Hitchens’ five-metre stainless-steel kinetic sculpture boasts three large koru/wing forms that swivel in the breeze.

“Ngā Manu references e koekoe te tūī, e ketekete te kākā, e kūkū te kererū, sourced from Dr Hinemoa Elder’s book Aroha, that translates as the tūī squawks, the kākā chatters, the kererū coos.

“The bird calls can be seen as the bird’s identities, different languages for each, yet they work with the forest to help create a better environment. It’s also about non-judgement, how we can be like the birds and accept diversity and work together.”

When stationary, the artwork - set on a concrete foundation measuring 2.1m x 2.1m set below the ground - has a 3.7m span, but when fully extended, that grows to 4.3m.

Pakuranga Rotary partnered with Council on the work to celebrate Pakuranga Rotary’s 2020 50th anniversary, which was not commemorated until because of Covid-19.

Howick Local Board deputy chair Bo Burns says it’s a stunning addition to the walkway.

“We congratulate Pakuranga Rotary for its unwavering community commitment, particularly on projects of significance like this, to which it committed $50,000.
“The board has been kept up to date since the artist was selected for the project and we are delighted to welcome his work as a cherished addition to the city’s public art collection.”

Burns says the brief was a challenging one, creating a piece inspired by the landscape and surrounding environment while encapsulating Rotary's mission to serve the community.

“This special piece elevates our walkway to new heights. Art has the remarkable ability to bring joy to people and I look forward to being one of those on my walks with my family.”

The Pakuranga Rotary Walkway is a popular walk or bike ride, stretching 9km from Prince Regent Drive in Farm Cove to the Panmure Bridge on a path that weaves past the Pakuranga Sailing Club and offers great views up and down the Tāmaki River.

Hitchens is of Ngāi Tūhoe and Ngāti Porou, Chinese, English and Scottish descent. His contemporary sculptures function as icons on a landscape, helping to signify the ‘unseen’.

He has other works in Council’s public collection, include, Kōtuku/Kōtuku Lights (2004), Tikiwānga (2005) in Onehunga, Totems and Pavilion (2006) in Glenn Innes, Cultural Outcrops (2005) and Star Waka (2006) in Manukau - made in collaboration with good friend Charles Koroneho.

“I provide icons for both historical and personal stories, being most interested in the ‘unseen’ values, experiences and philosophies that inform our relationships to the natural world around us,” he says.

“I’m interested in how the values from the past can inform our actions for the future, so my work explores the connection between all things (whakapapa).”

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