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Reuben Paterson. Photo by Jennifer French.

Guide Kaiārahi by 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 into the embrace of Ranginui to cast a galaxy of stars over the pool.

The inspiration for the crystalline sculpture originated in the well-known legend of a phantom waka that appeared at Lake Tarawera ten days before the eruption of Mt Tarawera in 1886.

Hovering above the Gallery’s forecourt pool like a compass needle in vertical orientation, the magnificent waka suggests navigation to worlds beyond our own. It also refers to navigators’ use of stars to traverse the vast Pacific Ocean to Aotearoa.

Combining references to natural and supernatural realms, the sculpture draws upon Māori cosmology and creation narratives. It also has as a personal resonance for Paterson as his Ngāti Rangithi kaumātua describe their iwi, who descend from the Te Arawa waka of the Bay of Plenty, as ‘Te Heketanga-a-rangi’, those who descend from the celestial heavens, in reference to their tūpuna, Ohomairangi. 

Guide Kaiārahi was created with the support of Edmiston Trust.

Engage with contemporary artist Reuben Paterson’s awe-inspiring sculpture, in a free public artist kōrero (talk) on July 18. Click here for all the details.


He mea hanga mai i ngā tioata kārohirohi rau maha, i hangaia e Reuben Paterson (Ngāti Rangitihi, Ngāi Tūhoe, Tūhourangi) a Guide Kaiārahi, he waka tekau mita te teitei mai i te puna o te ātea o Toi o Tāmaki.

He mea whakahau e Toi o Tāmaki me te Edmiston Trust, e whakaatu ana tēnei whakairo, i hangaia mai i ngā tioata tae hurihuri 595, i a Papatūānuku ki roto i te kauawhi a Ranginui tae noa ki ngā tini whetū kei runga ake o te puna.

I ahu mai te whakaaro mō te whakairo tioata i te kōrero rongonui mō te waka wairua i kitea i runga o te roto o Tarawera i te tekau rā i mua o te pahūtanga o Tarawera i te tau 1886.

E pōteretere ana i runga o te puna ātea o Toi o Tāmaki ānō ko te ngira o te kāpehu kei te anga poutū, e tohu ana te waka whakaharahara i ngā ao kei tua kē i tō tātau. E tohu anō hoki i te tātai a ngā kaumoana i ngā whetū hei whakatere i Te Moananui-a-Kiwa ki Aotearoa.

E whakakotahi ana i ngā kōrero mō te ao tūroa me te ao poutiriao, kei roto i te whakairo ko ngā kōrero mō te orokohanga o te ao. He mea nui hoki tēnei mō Paterson anō i te mea e ai ki ōna kaumātua o Ngāti Rangitihi ko te kōrero mō tōna iwi, nō te waka o Te Arawa, ko ‘Te Heketanga-a-rangi’, arā ko te hunga i ahu mai i ngā rangi tūhāhā, mai i tō rātau tipuna a Ohomairangi.

He mea hanga a Guide Kaiārahi mai i ngā tautoko a te Edmiston Trust.

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Last updated: 08 July 2021

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