If you're in the city centre this week, why not take a moment to enjoy the array of art on display in public spaces, both new and old, or bookmark this page for when we can head back in at level 2 (hopefully very soon). Furthermore, running throughout October, you can even win prizes while you're at it, thanks to the Street Art Bike Challenge which invites Aucklanders to explore the city's thriving street art scene by bike. Submit a photo and be in to win $1,000 worth of amazing prizes. From Silo Park to Britomart, the Aotea Arts Quarter and more, check out our top picks below to get started. 

Shane Cotton mural Britomart

Maunga | Shane Cotton mural | Britomart 

On the corner of Commerce and Customs Street's is a permanent art piece covering the western wall of Excelsior House. Created by Shane Cotton in collaboration with artist Ross Liew, Maunga is a series of 25 works painted onto the side of the five-storey high building. The idea of the pot comes from a motif theme by Cotton, representing New Zealand and how people bring their own landscapes and sceneries with them when they enter Auckland. Though pots may have been something that European colonists brought with them to store their belongings, the idea has been adapted visually into Māori art.. Head along and check it out for yourself and see what meaning you can take from the artwork. 


Guide Kaiārahi | Reuben Paterson at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki

Made from hundreds of shimmering crystals, Reuben Paterson’s (Ngāti Rangitihi, Ngāi Tūhoe, Tūhourangi) Guide Kaiārahi is a ten-metre-high waka rising vertically from the Gallery’s forecourt pool. Commissioned by Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki and Edmiston Trust, the sculpture, made of 595 iridescent crystals, navigates a spectacular journey from Papatūānuku (earth mother) into the embrace of Ranginui to cast a galaxy of stars over the pool. A must-see to add to your list. You can read more about it here

Sara Hughes

Glass panels by artist Sara Hughes for the New Zealand International Convention Centre

Sara Hughes artwork | New Zealand International Convention Centre (NZICC)

When open, the New Zealand International Convention Centre (NZICC) will host over 3000 conference delegates and provide a public laneway with exciting new hospitality offerings. Its façade is already adorned with the country's biggest ever public artwork - enormous glass panels (550 in total) by artist Sara Hughes. Hughes was brought up in rural Northland near the Waipoua kauri forest, with this being the inspiration for the detail on the glass. 60 different colour tones are used to create a breathtaking result, which aims to invoke the feeling of walking through native bush in Aotearoa, a welcome juxtaposition in a busy and metropolitan city space. The panels will sit alongside an equally huge terracotta tile work being created seperately by artist Peata Larkin - together eventually spanning a grand total of 5,760sqm once fully installed. 

Snickel Lane

Snickel Lane artwork 

Snickel Lane has amazing art installations that give the lane a warm, interesting vibe. Somewhere to sit and ponder while you have a coffee from Altezano Brothers, or a wine from La Fuente or one of the other eateries. Each year, the artwork gets a refresh thanks to the Snickel Lane Urban Art Award, established by Argosy Property, providing an Elam School of Fine Arts student the opportunity to create and display a public artwork.


This particular display by Tyson Campbell is being featured on The Lightship until April 8. Image supplied by the Downtown Programme. 


The Lightship | Quay St wharves carpark

Created from nearly 8500 LED lights, this large scale contemporary art installation is 13 metres high and 110 metres long. The Lightship is a Ports of Auckland initiative paying homage to the city’s artists. In a world filled with upheaval and turmoil, The Lightship is used to connect people through light on the Auckland waterfront,. The art on display changes frequently. The pictured artwork by Tyson Campbell is showing until April 8, and is set to the poetic and political device of rap music. Read more about it here.

Silo Park extension

Installations at Silo Park

Come on down to the newly extended Silo Park and explore the new installations created by Tessa Harris and Reuben Kirkwood, both artists of Ngai Tai Ki Tamaki. Harris' waka-inspired pavilion called Te Nukuao is a reflection of mana whenua identity as well as providing a practical shelter from the elements. The area’s concrete surface features concrete etchings designed by Kirkwood, inspired by the stars used to guide the waka hourua at sea.

Wall art

(Photo: Sacha Stejko)

Sun burst by Sara Hughes 

Diverse and colourful artworks in the shape of a heart were created on various walls in the city centre back in 2016 as part of a series of Hearts of the City artworks, and are still going strong today! Check out Sarah Hughes colourful artwork on Fort Lane which references the architectural details of Auckland's art deco and heritage sites. Like a sun burst this heart is exploding with everything life has to offer - Sara hopes that its rays will be positive and life affirming to passersby. 

Last updated: 28 September 2021