7 Dec 2008

Te Matau a Maui sculpture for Wellington motorway

11:43 am on 7 December 2008

The Wellington City Council has unveiled its latest public sculpture - a giant fish hook on the city's northern motorway.

Te Matau a Maui, or the hook of Maui, tells the story of Maui pulling up the North Island.

According to legend, Maui fished up Te Ika a Maui - the North Island. Te Upoko o te Ika a Maui - Wellington - is considered the head of the fish.

The design team for the steel and fibre glass sculpture includes filmmaker Taika Waititi, landscape architect Megan Wraight and lighting designer and artist Claude Hibder.

The massive "fish hook" - measuring up to 35m in height - will be situated between the Ngauranga interchange and the Aotea Quay off-ramp - the gateway to Wellington city from the north.

At an estimated $1.3 million, the cost of the sculptures is being split between the council and private investors. The council says it committed its share of the money several years ago.

Subject to resource consent, the sculpture could be built within 18 months.


Solar powered photo-electric cells will generate electricity during the day to help light up the sculpture at night.

The shafts will be lit from within and the lighting will alter according to the tides in the adjacent harbour.

A series of light sculptures called Receding Waters will also feature at intervals alongside the motorway from the Terrace Tunnel.

The lights will shimmer and pulsate, giving the impression of water rushing from the giant fish as it is pulled from the sea.