February 28, 2022
Reihana riff on Kupe story animates waterfront
While anti-vaccine protesters continued to clog up the streets around parliament this weekend, further along, the waterfront Wellingtonians had a chance to take in some striking new artworks.
As part of the Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts, Auckland artist Lisa Reihana, better known for her photographic and moving image works, collaborated with Weta to produce a series of inflatable sculptures and other apparitions which can be taken in on a half-hour walk.
She says as a Ngāpuhi and Te Atiawa wahine she drew on the stories around the explorer Kupe, who named not only many places in the north but also features around Te Whanganui ā Tara and Te Tau Ihu.
Kupe came to Aotearoa chasing the Te Wheke-a-Muturangi across Te Moananui a Kiwa – which is why there is a giant inflatable octopus in the Whairepo Lagoon for the next month.
“I felt like bringing focus to the feminine aspects of the story – the female wheke he chased but also his wife, Te Hine-o-te-aparangi, she named the North Island Aotearoa so it felt like a nice opportunity to bring out other aspects of that story and really bring a focus to those women,” Reihana says.
The Kura Moana works, which also includes an enhancement to the Kupe statue that stands on the waterfront, will stay up until March 20.