The Lightship is a site for contemporary art, which was launched by Ports of Auckland in October 2020. The large-scale digital light wall on Quay Street provides Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland with a unique place for public art to be enjoyed. It is a 110-metre-long, 13-metre-high light wall that wraps around the western façade of the port’s new car handling building. It is made up of seven panels with nearly 8,500 individually programmable LED lights and is visible from busy Quay Street, city wharves, local buildings and the water. 

The latest work on display is by artist Essa May Ranapiri, called Hinemoana & Papatūānuku. 

The rising waters of Hinemoana seek to embrace Papatūānuku. They are in conversation with each other, moving between land and sea. The moving between the images are this negotiation. In Elizabeth Kerekere’s poem ‘Hinemoana’ she describes a relationship of sensuality between Hinemoana and Papatūānuku and dynamic between soft and hard; ‘from the caress of her gentle breakers / to the crash of her deep seas’. The kupu Hinemoana and Papatūānuku are written in a Māori alphabet that has its birth on the seas, created by Matahi Whakataka-Brightwell in the 80s. I have used the Māori alphabet for their names to speak to their mana and their tapu nature.  

About the artist 

essa may ranapiri (they/ia | Ngāti Wehi Wehi, Ngāti Raukawa, Te Arawa, Waikato-Tainui, Ngāti Pukeko, Ngāti Takatāpui, Clan Gunn) is a poet/artist who lives on Ngāti Wairere whenua. Their first book of poetry ransack was published in 2019. ECHIDNA is their second book. 

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Last updated: 07 June 2022